Edo Reps Seat: Tribunal affirms election Of APCs Ihonvbere, dismisses PDPs petition

Prof Julius Ihovbee

BENIN – The National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin, on Monday, upheld the election of Hon. Prof. Julius Onozuanvbo Ihonvbere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the member representing Owan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, following the February 25 general election.

The tribunal, in its unanimous decision, dismissed the petition filed by Jimoh Iruokhaime Ojeiu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging Ihonvbere’s victory.

The tribunal also agreed with the lead lawyer to Ihonvbere Mr West Idahosa (SAN), that Ojeiu’s petition failed and ought to be dismissed with punitive cost.

The tribunal consequently granted the prayer of West Idahosa against the petitioners Ojeiu and the PDP, 1st and 2nd petitioners in the petition marked EPT/ED/HR/03/2023. Reacting to the over two hours judgement, Counsel to the 1st Petitioners, Rasak Isenalume, Esq, told our Correspondent that:

“As lawyers, our duty is to present the case as it is and back it up with relevant laws.

“So, it is for the tribunal to decide and we cannot change the law. All sides must have their positions and we canvassed ours eloquently. But the tribunal has come with its decision. “Well, like I told the tribunal, we will await further instructions from our clients as there is a further step to go.

“Most of these cases we are citing today, they were cases done at the tribunal and reversed at the court of Appeal and affirmed by the Supreme Court”

But Counsel to Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, 2nd Respondent, Famous Osawaru, who held brief for West Idahosa, SAN, described the judgement as a master class, meticulously written, articulately delivered and a victory for the people of Owan Federal Constituency.

He maintained that the tribunal dismissed the petition following the inability of the petitioners to prove the issues of overvoting as alleged in their petition.

“They could not prove the elements to establish overvotes in the election”, he said On his part, Counsel to the respondent, the APC Victor Asumwan, esq said:

“We are glad with the judgement and it is a reaffirmation of the decision of the electorates in Owan East and West Constituency when they voted massively for APC

“The tribunal has affirmed the position of the law that for one to prove overvoting, there are certain requirements of the law you must meet.

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“The petitioners obviously woefully failed to meet those provisions’, he averred. However, the last may not have been heard of the petition as the petitioners may be heading for an appeal at the Court of Appeal and maybe the Supreme Court for redress.

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