….As Ize-Iyamu congratulates Obaseki
By Simon Ebegbulem, Dapo Akinrefon, Gabriel Enogholase & Ikechukwu Nnochirim
ABUJA—The Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, dismissed the appeal by the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
It upheld the election of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The apex court consequently affirmed the concurrent verdicts of the Court of Appeal in Benin City and the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had earlier dismissed Ize-Iyamu’s case and upheld Obaseki’s victory.
The lead judgments in both the interlocutory and substantive appeal were prepared and delivered yesterday by Justice Iyang Okoro.
According to Justice Okoro: “After careful consideration of all the arguments and processes filed by parties in this matter, I am of the firm view that this appeal is devoid of merit and deserves an order of dismissal and accordingly the appeal is hereby dismissed.”
The judgment was unanimous.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court said it will on July 24, give reasons why it validated the election of Obaseki.
Meanwhile, Ize-Iyamu in a statement, congratulated Obaseki for his victory and thanked his supporters for being there for him all these while.
On the other hand, Governor Obaseki, represented by his Deputy, Mr Philip Shaibu, in court yesterday, described the Supreme Court verdict as victory for democracy and urged the PDP to join hands with the state government to move the state further if “actually they have the genuine desire to serve the people.”
There was jubilation by APC leaders at the court including the deputy governor, Shaibu, the state chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua, Secretary to the state government, Osarodion Ogie, former governor of the state, Prof. Osarhiemien Osunbor, state secretary of the party, Lawrence Orka, Senator Francis Alimekhena, Pally Iriase and other leaders of the APC.
Ize-Iyamu congratulates Obaseki
In his statement, Ize-Iyamu, said “Today (yesterday), the Supreme Court has by its judgment brought to an end our struggle for the office of the governor of Edo State which began on 28 September, 2016.
“I accept in good faith this decision of the highest court of our country, which affirms Mr Godwin Obaseki as the Governor of Edo State. I therefore, congratulate Mr Obaseki and assure him of my goodwill.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank all our supporters and party men and women for their immense support for our struggle right from the time of the election to this day that it ended at the Supreme Court. Let me assure them of my acknowledgement of their various sacrifices and promise that I will always be there for them.
“I thank all Edo people who have been part of our struggle all the way. In our various ways we should keep the fire burning in the quest for an Edo State of our dreams. Finally, I thank God for His grace that gave me the opportunity to seek the office. To Him be all honour and Glory,” it added.
My victory is stimuli to work for Edo—Obaseki
Reacting to the verdict, Obaseki said his victory at the Supreme Court was a stimulus to work harder on his promise to move Edo forward.
Obaseki, who spoke at a three day retreat for new Commissioners and Special Advisers held in Lagos, noted “These serial victories at the poll and the various courts have undoubtedly given me and the good people of Edo State joy, but it should also teach us a vital lesson that at all times, no matter the severity of the odds, we must stand on the side of fidelity, honesty and truth.
“To my dear good citizens of Edo State at home and abroad, let me state again that our many victories are stimuli to work harder on our promise to move Edo forward. “
The state APC chairman, Ojezua said, “The judgment was short but right on point. And it reiterated all that I have been saying. PDP had no case and the Supreme Court had found out this morning (yesterday), when they said they have studied all the processes and they were devoid of merit. What that means is that they were no evidence whatsoever upon which a tribunal could have reached verdict in their favour and therefore, they did not establish their case.”
On his part, former governor of the state, Mr Adams Oshiomhole said: “What the Supreme Court said is a vote of confidence in the electoral process and the electoral commission because the argument of the PDP was that the election was rigged and you cannot rig elections without the collaboration of INEC. So, when the courts found that Obaseki won the elections, it means that all the pronouncements by INEC were true in fact and in law which means that PDP was just a busy body and they ought to have accepted the will of the people. It is so clear that there was no case.”
“We have always said that PDP did not win any election. All their lies and blackmail has come to an end now. We thank God because we know he knows our heart and has been with us. He used us to set this state free from bondage and he has been with us. We will keep serving our people to justify the confidence he has in us. We are happy that Obaseki is doing well and I congratulate him for what he is doing so far and this sweet victory.”