BENIN CITY – The Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin, Wednesday dashed the hope of the Young Democratic Party (YDP) and its governorship candidate, Nurudeen Inwanfero, by upturning the judgement of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal given on December 8, 2016.
Following the dismissal of their petition against the declaration of Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as winner of the September 28 gubernatorial election in the State, the Petitioners had approached the appellate court, seeking to upturn the judgement.
Joined as Respondents in the appeal are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Mr. Goodwin Obaskei
Barrister Santos Femi Owootori, Counsel to the 3rd Respondent, (Mr. Godwin Obaseki), however filed a counter motion against the appeal.
In the counter Motion on Notice, Owootori sought an order dismissing the appeal brought by the Appellants/Respondents through their notice of appeal dated 16/12/2016 and filed on 20/12/2016.
He hinged his application on the grounds that the appellants/respondents filed their notice and grounds of appeal at the lower tribunal on 20/12/2016 without complying at the time of the filing, with paragraph 7(a) of the Election Tribunal and Court Practice Direction 2011 in respect of fulfilment of conditions of appeal.
He further argued that since the appellants/respondents filed their notice and grounds of appeal on 20/12/2016 at the lower tribunal, no records of proceedings/appeal has been compiled and served/transmitted as at 03/01/2017, which is 14 days after the filing of the notice of appeal in violation of paragraph 9 of the election tribunal and court practice direction 2011.
Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the 11-paragraph affidavit in support of motion for dismissal, reads:
“That I know as a fact that the appealants have 10 days from the date of filing of their Notice of Appeal withing which to ensure that the records of proceedings/Appeal are compiled and transmitted/served on all parties too his appeal.
“That as at 3/01/2017, the Appellants/Respondents are yet to fulfil the conditions of appeal statutorily imposed to enable the compilation and service of the records of proceedings/Appeal in this appeal. Payment of requisite fees for the compilation and service of the records of appeal was not done contemporaneously with the filing of the Notice of Appeal.”
After hearing argument from counsel to the 3rd respondent (Mr. Godwin Obaseki) the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice J. O. Bada, dismised the appeal of the YDP and its governorship candidate, against the decision of the election petition tribunal.
Other members of the three-man panel of judges who concurred with the lead judgement are Justices P. M. Ekpe and M. N. Oniyangi.