By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Appeal Court in Benin, yesterday, upheld the ruling of the National Assembly Electoral Tribunal in Benin City which declared the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senatorial candidate for Edo North senatorial district, Alhaji Yisa Braimoh, winner of 21 April 2007 election.
It would be recalled that Action Congress, AC, senatorial candidate for Edo North district, Dr Tunde Lakoju, had appealed the judgment of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal which declared Senator Braimoh winner of the election after the Tribunal declared that the petitioner failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2006 leveled at the defendant.
Lakoju in his appeal, argued that the lower Tribunal did not properly evaluate the evidence given by his witnesses.
He also raised the issue of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2006 by the defendant and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, in a unanimous judgement read by Justice Gumel on behalf of the Presiding Judge, Justice Nwosu Iheme, the Appeal Court upheld the evaluation of witnesses as declared by the lower tribunal, saying that the 13th witness confirmed receipt of electoral materials contrary to the views of the appellant.
The court added that there were material contradictions in evidence given by the witnesses.
On the issue of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2006 by the defendant and INEC, the Appeal Court agreed with the lower tribunal that the allegation of non-compliance was criminal in nature, and needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubts, which the petitioner failed to do.
â€œThe Appeal is hereby dismissed and Alhaji Yisa Braimoh remains the winner of the 21 April 2007 senatorial election in Edo North senatorial district of Edo state,â€ the judge said in his ruling.
In a swift reaction, the Director of Yisa Braimoh campaign organization, Barrister Tunde Oisamoje, thanked God for the victory.