- As Appeal Court affirms his mandate
By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Court of Appeal in Benin City, Edo State yesterday affirmed Godwin Obaseki of the All progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the September 28, 2016 governorship election in the state and dismissed the appeal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as lacking in merit.
Â In a swift reaction, Obaseki commended the judgement and declared that he knew that the truth would never change.
Striking out the appeal, the court, led by Hon. Justice Dongban-Mensen ruled that the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led Tribunal did a pain-staking job and so deserved commendation, adding that the tribunal should be commended for properly evaluating all the witnessesâ€™ evidence and ascribing â€œprobative valueâ€ to it.
The Appeal Court judgment read by Justice M. O. Bolaji Yusuf also held that the PDP, from the evidence-led, did not prove their case to warrant the nullification of the election or a declaration of Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the winner.
Justice Yusuf said: “In considering all issues formulated by lead counsels, we found that the nine issues formulated by the appellant counsel were sub-summed into two (2) issues: One, whether the tribunal properly evaluated the evidence and gave correct collative value to it; two, whether in considering the entire evidence before the tribunal, the tribunal was right in holding that the appellant failed to prove his petition.
“We considered all the issues and at the end, we found that the decision of tribunal as shown was unassailable. The tribunal carried out a painstaking detail and thorough dissipation of all aspect in the appellant’s case. Having resolved all the two issues, we found that the appeal was rhetoric and the appeal is hereby dismissed.”
Obaseki who was highly elated by the appeal court judgement, said: “One thing you must always know is that the truth never changes. I won the election. God has affirmed that I won the election; the court has now affirmed that I won the election.
“No matter how hard they (opposition) try, they cannot change the truth. I am sure they will appeal, we will meet at the Supreme Court and it will be the same verdict.
“I thank the people for their patience with us. We want to assure them that we are not distracted and we will continue on our path to recovery, on our path to progress. We have done a little bit of work. I know that people are pleased with what we have done. But I want to assure them that it is only the beginning. I want to assure them that with the continued support we are receiving from Edo people, we will put in everything we have to make sure that Edo State becomes the state that it should be.”
Immediate past governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, said: “When I said the petition was like one filed by â€˜Mama Alakaraâ€™, they tried to twist it. You can see that even at the level of the Court of Appeal, they used more harsh words than the Tribunal.
“I just hope that the PDP will understand that their rigging machine has been dismantled since 2007. They can return it; they can’t succeed and our people will not welcome them back.
“It is now that Godwin will concentrate on his mandate and am happy he is doing well. Now, we know that with the clarity of the position, even if they go to the Supreme Court or World Court, we will defeat them.”