The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin has upheld the victory of Dennis Idahosa in the February 25 Ovia Federal Constituency election, News About Nigeria reports.
The court has dismissed petitions from the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lack of merit, while labelling it incompetent and insufficient to disqualify the respondent.
Petitioners Epele Asemota of the LP and Omosede Igbinedion of the PDP had separately challenged Idahosa’s victory, alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended, during the election
They also claimed irregularities such as overvoting and multiple thumbprinting were made in favor of the APC candidate, along with the non-usage of the BVAS machine during the election.
In its judgment, the tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Mohammed, dismissed both petitions on the grounds that they lacked merit and were incompetent due to the absence of evidence to support the allegations.
The panel emphasized that it was the responsibility of the petitioners to prove issues such as overvoting, corrupt practices, and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, as stated in their petitions.
Counsel to Omosede, Santos Owootori, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment and announced their intention to seek redress at the court of appeal.
On the other hand, counsel to Idahosa, Famous Osawaru, praised the judgment as being based on facts rather than sentiment. He stated that the victory represented the will of the Ovia people and was a sign of liberation.