The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin has affirmed the victory of a former Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Francis Alimikhena, for Edo North senatorial district.
The tribunal, chaired by Justice C. Ogundana, dismissed the petition filed by Mr Abubakar Momoh of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is challenging the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 elections.
Momoh had alleged that Alimikhena was not qualified to contest the election for not having the requisite educational qualification and forged his ordinary level General Certificate of Education result.
Momoh further alleged that the senator did not score the majority of lawful votes cast in the election.
Delivering judgement, the three-man panel held that the witnesses called to give evidence on the educational qualification only relied on paragraphs in the petition and did not render original results for the tribunal sighting.
The tribunal said there was no evidence to show Alimikhena impersonated and that the petitioner failed to prove non-qualification.
It said the petitioner introduced new allegations in his reply when he alleged that Alimikhena forged his primary school leaving certificate.
The tribunal ruled that reply should not be used as a repair kit to fix facts not pleaded in the petition.
On the issue of not scoring the majority of lawful votes, the tribunal said the 18 witnesses called by the petitioner did not provide evidence of cancelled results and over-voting and that ‘the witness is not a witness of truth.’
“There was no evidence to show over voting. The evidences from witnesses were hearsay. The witnesses were not eyewitnesses.
“The forensic expert called by the petitioners does not qualify as an expert. His evidence was mere arithmetic calculation and academic exercise. His value is worthless.
“The petitioners have not demonstrated that if all the results are properly collated, they would have scored the majority of lawful votes.”
“There was no credible evidence to prove voter buying, non-compliance with the electoral act and corrupt practices.”