The Election Petition Tribunal Dismisses Igbinedion Petition

The election petition tribunal in Benin City, Edo State, has dismissed the petition by Omosede Igbinedion for lack of merit.

Igbinedion is challenging the victory of Dennis Idahosa, who was declared winner of the Ovia Federal Constituency seat s the House of Representatives.

Igbinedion 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.

The tribunal said there was no merit in the petition.

Tribunal Chairman Justice O. Ogundana said Omosede failed to prove allegations of over voting, forgery and falsification of results.

Justice Ogundana, who had earlier ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed its reply out of time, noted that allegations of over voting, electoral malpractices bothered on criminal offences that must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

On non-qualification by Idahosa following allegations of being a Canadian citizen, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to show any prove of the allegation as the witness called did not testify regarding the allegation.

The tribunal ruled that Idahosa proved he is a Nigerian by birth by presenting his International Passport and proof of his resignation as a board member of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGW).

The tribunal said: “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 make prima facie case. Averments in petitions prove nothing without evidence. The onus of proof has not shifted to the defendants.

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“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.”

Idahosa hailed the judiciary for remaining the hope of the common man. He promised to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of Ovia.

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