TRIBUNAL UPHOLDS IRAISE'S ELECTION
By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN - Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, declared Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate for Owan Federal Constituency of the state and former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Pally Iraise, as winner of April 9 National Assembly elections.
Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Johnson Abulagba, had challenged the result of the elections at the tribunal.
The tribunal, in its judgment, held that Abulagba failed to prove his allegations that elections in the area did not comply with Electoral Act 2010. Citing relevant cases, the tribunal ruled that heeding the demand of the petitioner, that he be declared the winner of the election due to noted anomalies, such as the Senate result form which, according to the petitioner, was used for the House of Representatives election, would lead to distorting the wishes of the people.
The tribunal agreed with the argument of Iriase's counsel that at some polling units in the area, the number of voters outnumbered the provided result sheets for the election, which forced the returning officer to substitute the result sheet of the Senate for the House of Representatives, which he said was duly signed by all parties in the election.
The tribunal held that it will want to, 'follow the tribunal finding in the case of Aregbesola vs Oyinlola where the court held that a petitioner, who alleges that there had been no compliance with the Electoral Act, was required to prove the allegation on the preponderance of evidence. The court further held that in Akumezie vs Okemwan, the tribunal will not distort the political will of the electorate once they have this substantial compliance.'