By Dayo Johnson
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo State Tuesday upheld the election of a member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Olaniyi Adebusoye representing Okitipupa constituency 1.
The court hinged its judgment on the fact that the petition against Adebusoye was filed outside the time stipulated by the 2006 electoral act.
According to the judgment which was read by Justice Soremi and supported by Justices Auge and Omoleye the court said, â€œthe petition of Mr Soji Akinkuolire of the Labour Party (LP) was filed in defiance to Section 141 of the Electoral Act which stated that petition must be filed within 30 days after the declaration of election result.
The lower tribunal headed by Justice Garba Nabaruma had set aside the election that produced Adebusoye as the winner of the election and ordered a fresh election into the state constituency.
But Adebusoye through his counsel, Dr Kayode Olatoke filed an appeal at the appellate court asking it to set aside Justice Nabarumaâ€™s verdict.
The major plank upon which the appeal rested was the fact that Akinkuolireâ€™s petition was filed on 14 MayÂ 2007, instead of 13 May, a day outside the time required by the law.
Counsel to the petitioner, Dr Olamide Ayeni disagreed with the position of the appellant, saying the petition was competent and the decision of the Lower Tribunal should be upheld.
After the exchange of briefs of arguments by the counsel in which several positions of law were canvassed, the court held that the petition ought to have been dismissed by the lower tribunal.
Also, the justices held that the petition was incompetent and statue barred and they consequently dismissed it.
Speaking to newsmen after the verdict, Adebusoye who is the Chairman House Committee on Appropriation said the judiciary has proved itself as the last hope of the common man. He added that he would strive hard to work for the people of his constituency.
The Appeal court has, however, adjourned till next year, judgments in the petitions filed by a member of the National Assembly, Mr. Gbenga Elegbeleye of Akoko North East/North West Federal constituency and another House of Assembly member, Thompson Otito Atikase, Ilaje constituency 11, both of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.