• Tony Igele

Truth Prevailed, says Obaseki as Appeal Court upholds electoral victory

Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot change the truth that he won the state’s governorship election held on September 28, 2016.

The governor was reacting to Friday’s verdict of the Court of Appeal which upheld his election and dismissed the appeal of the PDP.

He declared his readiness to meet the PDP at the Supreme Court if necessary, but vowed that he would not be distracted by such litigations.

“I had no doubt in my mind that given the quality judiciary we had, ?it would go straight to the matter,” he 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.”

He thanked the people of Edo State for their patience, saying “I thank Edo 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.”

In his own reaction, Obaseki’s immediate predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the verdict should tell the PDP that its rigging machine can never return to the state.

His words: “When I said that PDP petition was like the petition filed by Mama Akara, they tried to twist it. Now, if you listen to the judgment, you will see that the Court of Appeal even has more harsh words for them; that the findings of the tribunal was unassailable so they did not have to beat around the bush.

“This is clear and I just hope that the PDP can understand that their rigging machine that was dismantled in 2007, they cannot return it and our people can never welcome them back.

“I think it is now for Godwin (Obaseki) to concentrate fully. Happily, he is doing very well. And now with this clarity of his position, we have no doubt that he won the election. Even if the PDP wants to go to the World Court we are ready.

“But the government will not be distracted and Edo people can be reassured that they voted wisely and they are getting the dividends of democracy that they voted for.

“I am excited. The only thing is that we have to review the rules of the court in a manner that when a man has no case and files a fictitious petition, he should be asked to pay for the time wasted by the judges and others, so that we will have penalties for frivolities.

“Like I said, he who dies in sin can never resurrect. The PDP died in sin.”

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin City, yesterday upheld the election of Obaseki, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governor of Edo State against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and People’s Democratic Party (PDP’s) appeal against the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal on September 26, 2016.

Counsels to both parties had argued their briefs on May 30 this year, where Obaseki’s counsel, led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the appeal, saying that the grounds of the appeal were watery.

Striking out the appeal, the court, led by Hon. Justice Dongban-Mensen, ruled that the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led tribunal did a painstaking job in its judgment, and so deserved commendation.

He added that the tribunal should be commended for properly evaluating all the witnesses’ evidence and ascribing “probative value” to it.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Obaseki, the candidate of the APC, as the winner of the September 28, 2016 governorship election while the appellants alleged that the tribunal judges truncated their right to fair hearing by giving unequal treatment to the parties involved.

The Appeal Court held that the PDP did not prove its case to warrant the nullification of the election or the declaration of Ize-Iyamu as the winner.

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