Oshiomhole asks poll Tribunal to dismiss Airhiavbere’s application

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and his counsel, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) (right); Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) (2nd right); and others at the resumed hearing of the Edo Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin City

Edo State election petitions tribunal sitting in Benin City has reserved ruling for today (Tuesday) on two applications filed before it at its resumed hearing, yesterday, in the case filed by the defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Maj.-Gen Charles Airhiavbere against the election of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State.

Maj-Gen Arhiavbere (petitioner) had in his petition requested leave of the court to bring in additional witnesses to testify on his behalf to which Counsel to Governor Oshiomhole (1stRespondent) and ACN (2nd respondent) filed a counter-application asking the court to dismiss the petitioner’s application, on the ground that it had been overtaken by events.

The 3rd respondent, INEC, aligned itself with the position of the 1st and 2ndrespondents seeking leave of the court to strike out the petitioner’s application.

The petitioner’s counsel, P.O. Ituah, while praying the court to allow him bring in additional witnesses said it would help prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.

However, counsel to Governor Oshiomhole, the 1st respondent, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) urged the tribunal to dismiss the application as it would serve no useful purpose in view of the ruling of the tribunal on September 27, which dismissed the application of the petitioner in respect to the academic qualification of the governor.

Chief Akintola submitted that the argument of the petitioner was merely academic as the application was not a live motion before the tribunal.

Buttressing his argument with relevant authorities, Oshiomhole’s counsel urged the tribunal to dismiss the application as it does not serve any useful purpose.

Counsel to the Action Congress of Nigeria (2nd respondent) and the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, (3rd respondent) allied themselves with the argument of the first respondent describing the application as an exercise in futility.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrusa reserved ruling on the application and counter-application for today October 9.

It will be recalled that the tribunal had on September 27 struck out the Edo PDP candidate’s petition contesting the academic qualifications of Governor Adams Oshiomhole on the basis that it was a pre-election matter that should have been addressed by a Federal High Court before the election, with the tribunal chairman describing the petitioner as embarking on a “wild goose chase”.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (3rd respondent) yesterday, produced at the tribunal, some of the electoral documents requested by the petitioner. INEC said it had to bring the documents to the premises of the tribunal after attempts to contact the petitioner failed.

The 1st Respondent, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was present at the tribunal yesterday while the petitioner, Maj-Gen Charles Airhiavbere was absent.

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