Godwin Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his party, the All Progressives Congress, have urged the state governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in Benin to dismiss a petition filed by the Young Democratic Party and its candidate, Nurudeen Inwanfero, for lack of merit.

Inwanfero had in the petition asked the tribunal to cancel the September 28 governorship poll due to the exclusion of the party’s logo on the ballot papers.

But at the resumed pre-hearing session on Friday, the lead counsel to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, asked the tribunal to strike out the petition, adding that it had no reasonable cause of action.

Fagbemi argued that the petitioners filed two petitions at the tribunal and also filed a notice of discontinuance of one of the petitions without complying with the Electoral Act.

He noted that the issues raised by the petitioners were pre-election matters that were not within the purview of the tribunal to decide whether the Independent National Electoral Commission erred or not.

Fagbemi said, “This tribunal is not to deal with pre-election matters. Whether INEC is wrong or right not to recognise their (YDP) logo is not within the purview of the tribunal.

“I urge your Lordship to give the petition a decent burial. It is dead on arrival.”

In his submission, counsel to INEC, Onyebuchi Ikpeazu, noted that there was no reason to oppose the application of the APC as there was no justification for the petition.

Fagbemi’s application was also supported by the lead counsel to Obaseki, Wole Olanipekun, who said that it would be hypocritical for him to oppose the application.

But the counsel to the YDP, Ugo Nwofor, opposed the application, which he described it as an abuse of court process.

However, the three-man panel, led by Justice Ahmed Badamasi, adjourned sitting to December 8, 2016 for ruling in the application.

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