The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin on Thursday has affirmed the election of Senator Neda Imasuen, as the Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District.
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen and his party (PDP), had through suit no EPT/ED/SEN/03/2023 approached the tribunal to challenge Imasuen’s victory in the February 25 election.
The petitioners approached the tribunal on four grounds and sought the nullification of Imasuen’s victory for alleged non qualification, over-voting, corrupt practice, non-compliance with the electoral act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the nomination of the 1st respondent by the LP.
The three-member panel led by Justice Yusuf Ubale Mohammed, dismissed the petition for lack of merit and incompetent.
Justice Mohammed, who read the over three hours judgement, said the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Imasuen was not qualified to participate in the election.
The tribunal held that the allegations of non-qualification, party nomination or sponsorship for an election are pre-election matters that can only be entertained by a Federal High Court.
He added that Iduoriyekemwen and his party PDP also failed to prove that the senator did not score the majority of valid votes in the election.
Justice Mohammed further held that the petitioners were unable to prove the case of non-compliance with the electoral act and irregularities mentioned during the election.
The tribunal said: “The elections and return of the first respondent (Neda Imasuen) are hereby affirmed. This petition is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit”
Earlier, the tribunal through a motion on notice filed before it by the respondents had dismissed the petition on the ground that it was not properly signed, inferring that the Petitions were brought in dead before the court.
Reacting to the court verdict, Senator Imasuen while dedicating the court victory to the people of Edo commended the tribunal for its courage to interpret the law as it should be and for also standing for the truth of justice.
He added that the verdict has further consolidated his victory during the election, noting that “the choice of voting for me at the ballot has been further proven.
“The judiciary has once again stood for the truth, defended our democracy, and entrenched the rule of law through her judgement affirming my return and dismissing the petitioners’ cases”
It would be recalled that the tribunal on Tuesday also struck out the twin petition filed by APC and its Candidate Hon. Valentine Asuen, challenging the election victory of Senator Neda Imasuen of the Labour Party.