Appeal Court Nullifies Election of Peter Akpatason

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Appeal Court in Benin City yesterday nullified the candidacy of Hon. Peter Akpatason of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for recent election into the House of Representatives.

The appellate court also declared null and void, the outcome of the party appeals committee panel headed by former governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, recognising Akpatason, representing Akoko -Edo Federal constituency

Delivering it’s judgment, the appeal court declared the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Kabiru Adjoto as the candidate of the party for Akoko-Edo federal constituency.

Justice Moore Abraham-Adumein who read the judgment, confirmed Adjoto as the rightful candidate of the party in the appeal brought before it by the respondent who claimed he won the party’s primary election but was denied the ticket.

Justice Moore Abraham-Adumein also said that the trial court (lower court) that first heard the matter ought to have heard the case brought before it since it is its duty to do so but noted that “the trial court for reasons best known to it failed or neglected to make any pronouncement on the live issue before it.

According Justice Abraham-Adumein, the Osunbor committee was not properly constituted because the committee contravenes Article 21 B of the APC guidelines which says “no member of the five-member appeals committee shall be from the state of assignment” and so the committee ought not to hear the case.

He said referring the case back to the trial court (Federal High Court) would have been statute-bared but that having considered the evidences before the lower court which it did not consider, Adjoto won the primary election as the Returning Officer during the election, Hon. Sufiyanu Igbafe declared that Adjoto scored 7,034 votes as against his opponent, Honourable Peter Akpatason who scored 5,606 votes.

“This appeal is hereby unanimously allowed and the prayers sought by the appellant in the trial court are hereby granted and the sum of N300,000 is hereby awarded as cost against the 1st and 2nd respondents”, Justice Abraham-Adumein declared.

He said his two colleagues; Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme who is the presiding justice and Justice Tunde Efotoye agreed with the judgment.

Counsel to Akpatason, Omoh-Ige Adebayo said they would contest the judgment in the Supreme Court while an elated Adjoto said “the judiciary is not only the last hope of the common man but also of the big man” and promised to give more representation to his people than he has given in the state assembly.