By Adibe Emenyonu
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo State capital, has set aside the judgment of the Edo State High Court disqualifying the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate and his running mate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Mallam Gani Audu, respectively, from contesting the September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state.
An Edo State High Court had this year in a ruling, disqualified the governorship candidate of the APC, Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Audu in the September 19, 2020 governorship election on the ground that Audu filed forged documents in INEC’s form EC9.
The lower court presided by Justice Courage Ogbebor therefore ruled that the APC did not have a candidate for the election.
But the APC, Ize-Iyamu and Audu filed separate appeals against the ruling at the Court of Appeal
The appellate court judges, Justices Oyebisi .F. Omoleye, B.A. Georgewill and O.E. Oho however, yesterday set aside the judgment of the lower court, noting that there is no evidence of forgery of credentials on the part of Audu.
Besides, the court also held that the case filed by Kadiri Oshoakpemhe was statute- barred as it was filed outside the 14 days constitutional provisions.
In an unanimous decision read by Justice Omoleye and supported by Justices Georgewill and Oho, the Appeal Court said the case at the lower court was “grossly incompetent.”
The appeal court ruled that the suit at the lower court was filed out of time by two days, which made it statute-barred, saying that Oshoakpemhe could not prove the case of the forgery against Audu beyond reasonable doubt by providing the original of the forged document to the court.
She ruled that the first respondent in the case before the Appeal Court is “trying to make mountain out of a mole hill and his case is grossly incompetent”.
According to her, “The judgment of the trial court delivered on January 6 which disqualified the appellant and Audu Ganiyu from contesting respectively as governor and deputy governor is set aside.”