By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
THE Election Petition Tribunal in Benin City yesterday dismissed the petition brought before it by Hon. Omosede Igbinedion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Hon Dennis Idahosa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 23rd 2019 national assembly election for Ovia federal constituency seat.
Igbinedion had asked the tribunal to declare her winner of the election on grounds that Idahosa was not qualified to contest the election being a Canadian citizen and did not resign his appointment with the Federal Ministry of Environment as a member of the National Agency for Great Greenwall board.
In a unanimous judgment by the three-man panel headed by Justice O. Ogundana the tribunal said there was no merit in the petition filed by Igbinedion.
He said Igbinedion also failed to prove allegations of over-voting, forgery and falsification of results.
Justice Ogundala whose judgment took almost three hours to deliver said Igbinedion failed to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt because the PW8 called by the petitioner in respect of the allegation of dual citizenship was not the maker of the P99 document tendered.
He said “Since PW8 is not the maker of the document he deposed before the tribunal, the tribunal did not attach any probative value to the document tendered.”
READ ALSO: Tribunal strikes out Ndoma-Egba’s petition
He held that since the petitioner is of the view that the voted scored by the 2nd and 3rd respondent were allocated by the 1st respondent (INEC), the 1st and 2nd petitioner failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt the allegation of electoral malpractice.
“All these allegations have not in the least being proved by the petitioner not to talk of proving them beyond reasonable doubt. The reasons canvassed therefore have no merit and are hereby dismissed.
“The argument of the petitioners is most untenable. They did not show relevant documents and pleaded facts are not before the tribunal.
“Aside the pleading of the grounds, the petitioners did not place anything on their side. They did not made prima facie case. Averments in petition prove nothing without evidence. The onus of prove has not shifted to the defendants.
“The petitioners failed to prove non-qualification. All these allegations have not been proven. Even if ground three has not been struck out, it would not have survived.”
In reaction to the judgment, Idahosa commended the Tribunal for a thorough job just as he commended the support he has got from the APC and particularly women from Ovia Federal Constituency who he said have been untiring in their support.
Counsel to Igbinedion, K.O. Obamogie thanked the tribunal for an exhaustive judgment but pleaded to it to make available the Certified True Copy of the judgment so as to enable his client study it in order to make decide what to do with it.