Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tribunal affirms Oshiomhole’s victory

*Says Airiavbere’s petition starved of evidence
*Describes petitioner’s witnesses as busy-bodies

 The Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin City, yesterday, dismissed the petition filed Maj.-Gen Charles Arhiavbere (rtd), candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and affirmed the electoral victory of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Muazu Pindiga while dismissing the petition said “if this was a petition starved of evidence, this is certainly one. Judges cannot perform miracles or conjure evidence. The petition is bereft of any evidence and devoid of substance.
The Judge who described the witnesses called by the petioner as busy-bodies, then awarded a cost of N150,000 against the petitioner, Maj-Gen Charles Airhiavbere.
On the issues for determination, the tribunal chairman said: on the issue that the election did not comply with the provisions of the electoral act, those who allege must prove. The petitioner is duty bound to prove or establish the grounds of allegations, saying the petitioner failed to do so.
On the petitioner’s allegation of illegal amendment and manipulation of the voters register, harassment of voters and multiple voting, the tribunal said: “the allegations of commission of crime must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. To what extent has the petitioner been able to establish that new and altered voters’ register were used. The petitioner failed to prove the allegation and couldn’t produce evidence of the altered voters register used. Pleadings or petition without evidence cannot be relied on.”
On the petition that there were anomalies in the filling of Forms EC8A by the 2ndrespondent, the tribunal held that the petitioner did not tender any Form EC8A in proof of allegation. It also noted that none of those who gave evidence came from the units where they gave evidence on. The tribunal chairman also held that there was no relevance in the evidence given by many of the petitioner’s witnesses on this point, noting that evidence given that has no relevance goes to no issue.
On the allegation of harassment of witnesses, the tribunal held that the evidence of some of the witnesses is at variance with their pleadings. The tribunal was especially hard on the witnesses from Owan East, describing them as busy-bodies whose evidence goes to no issue.
In conclusion, the tribunal said “in totality, the petitioner has failed to prove his elaborate allegations which turns out to be a sham. We hold that the 1st respondent won the election based on the result declared by the 2nd respondent, winning in the eighteen local government areas of the state, while the petitioner did not win in any local government, including his own ward. There was no infraction of the electoral Act warranting us to void the elections of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.”

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