Edo poll: Appeal court sets aside disqualification of Ize-Iyamu’s running mate

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The Benin Division of the Court of Appeal on Monday overturned the judgment of the lower court that nullified the candidacy of Ganiyu Audu, Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s running mate in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.

The Edo State High Court had on January 6, 2021 disqualified Audu Ganiyu as the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for presenting false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in his form EC9 affidavit in support of personal particulars submitted to the electoral body for the purpose of contesting election into the office of deputy governor in Edo State.

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BusinessDay reports that the trial judge delivered judgment in suit No: B/358/2020, filed by Kadiri Oshoakhemhe against the APC deputy governorship candidate and others.

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Aggrieved by the judgement of the lower court, the APC governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, approached the Court of Appeal seeking to set aside the judgment of the trial court and dismiss the suit filed by Kadiri Oshoakhemhe for failing to prove his claim beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

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In a unanimous judgment on the appeal with reference number CA/B/12/2021, the three-man panel said the appeal has merits, adding “that the judgement of the trial court delivered on January 6 which disqualified the appellant and Audu Ganiyu(second respondent) from contesting as governor and deputy governor respectively is set aside”.

“I see no issue of forgery or false statements. These are mere discrepancies. To allege a crime is not a mere tea party and must be intended to achieve justice,” said Justice Biobele Georgewill, who read the judgment.

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“To prove forgery, there must be undisputed documents in court which can be relied upon. A claim must be proved beyond reasonable doubts. The suit filed by the first respondent is dismissed for being statute-barred, and no cost will be awarded,” Georgewill said.

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