By Peterson Ibi/Benin
The Benin Division of the Court of Appeal on Monday set aside the judgment of an Edo State High Court which disqualified the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Gani Audu, in the September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state.
Thr lower court presided over by Justice Courage Ogbebor, on 6 January, 2021, disqualified the candidacy of Ize-Iyamu, on the ground that his running mate, Audu, filled forged documents in INEC’s form EC9.
He further added that by his ruling, the APC did not have a candidate for the election.
The APC, Ize-Iyamu and Audu, thereafter filed separate appeals against the ruling.
The Judges, in an unanimous decision read by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye and supported by Justices B. A. Georgewill and O. E. Oho, said there was no evidence of forgery of credentials on the part of Gani Audu.
The appelate court ruled that the suit at the lower court was filed out of time by two days which made it statue-barred and that Oshoakpemhe could not prove the case of the forgery against Gani Audu beyond reasonable doubt, by providing the original of the forged document to the court.
It added that the first respondent in the case before the appeal court is “trying to make mountain out of a mole hill and his case is grossly incompetent.”
“The judgment of the trial court delivered on January 6 which disqualified the appellant and Audu Ganiyu from contesting respectively as governor and deputy governor is set aside,” it ruled.