The Court of Appeal in Benin has set aside the judgement of the lower court that nullified the candidacy of pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s running mate,Mr Ganiyu Audu in the Sept. 19 Edo governorship poll.
Mr Oshoakpemhe Kadiri, a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had filed a suit against Ganiyu whom he said was not qualified to be Ize-Iyamu’s running mate.
He asked the court to disqualify Ganiyu on the grounds of giving false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Helen Courage-Ogbebor, a judge, held that Ganiyu presented false information to INEC in his Form EC9.
But Ganiyu approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the lower court’s ruling.
Following the trial court’s decision, the APC governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-iyamu also filed an application to set aside the judgement of the lower court and dismiss the suit filed by Oshoakhemhe.
Delivering judgement on Monday in Benin, the three-man panel unanimously said the appeal was meritorious.
Reading the judgement, Justice Biobele Georgewill said “the judgement of the trial court delivered on Jan. 6 which disqualified the appellant and Audu Ganiyu from contesting respectively as governor and deputy governor is set aside”.
In setting aside the High Court Judgement, the Appeal Court considered some salient issues in arriving at its decision.
The first was that the Appeal Court held that failure to add INEC as a party in the suit was fatal and that the Appeal Court has right to assume jurisdiction and resolved the issue against the appellant.
Secondly, the court held that the matter was statute barred as the electoral act stipulated seven days in Sec. 31 (3) and 289 of the constitution, ruling that the matter was filed two days out of time.
The court also held that it did not find any proof of forgery or false statements and therefore cleared Mr Ganiyu Audu of any wrong doing.
The Chairman of the three appeal court justices was Justice folayemi omoleye, assisted by Justices Biobele Georgewill and Fred Oho.