The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin City, has dismissed two petitions filed against the declaration of Dennis Idahosa as winner of the February 25 Ovia Federal Constituency election for lack of merit and being incompetent.
The petitioners, Epele Asemota of the Labour Party (LP) and Barr Omosede Igbinedion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had separately approached the court to challenge the victory of Idahosa.
Asemota and Igbenediion had accused INEC of not complying with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended, in the conduct of the election.
They also contended that the election victory of the APC candidate was marred by irregularities through overvoting and multiple thumbprinting.
Osayuki Asemota and Omosede Igbinedion further alleged the non-usage of the BVAS machine during the election.
In its judgement, the tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Mohammed, dismissed the two petitions on the grounds that they lacked merit and were incompetent, as the petitioners could not present any evidence to support their cases.
The three-man panel held that the onus was on the petitioners to prove the issues of overvoting, corrupt practices and non compliance with the Electoral Act as contained in their petitions.
According to the tribunal, “The declaration of the 3rd respondent (Idahosa) is valid and petition dismissed.”
Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Omosede, Mr Santos Owootori, expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, maintaining that they would approach the court of appeal for redress.
On his part, counsel to Idahosa, Mr Famous Osawaru, lauded the judgement, adding that it was based on facts and not sentiment.
According to him, the mandate of Ovia people cannot be stolen, adding that his victory is a sign of liberation.