A High Court in Benin, Edo State, on Wednesday, disqualified the candidature of Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Gani Audu, in the September 19, 2020, governorship election in the state.
Mr Ize-Iyamu was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.
The court, presided by Courage Ogbebor, held that the APC deputy governorship candidate was not qualified to contest the election as a result of discrepancies in the names in his documents that he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Form EC9.
The case in Suit No B/358/2020 was brought against Mr Audu by the plaintiff, Sunday Kadiri, from Ogbona ward, in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
The plaintiff had asked the court to disqualify Mr Audu from participating in the election on account of having allegedly given false information to the electoral commission to aid his qualification for the election.
He also asked the court to annul the candidacy of Mr Ize-Iyamu as the APC candidate for governor on account of running with an unqualified candidate for deputy governor.
Reacting swiftly to the judgment, Mr Ize-Iyamu said the ruling was “unfortunate and utterly wrong.”
The APC governorship candidate, in a statement, said he had already instructed his lawyer to file an appeal against the judgment, expressing hope that the appellate court would dismiss the ruling.
Mr Ize-Iyamu said, “I have already instructed my counsel to appeal against the judgement, as I am convinced that the Court of Appeal will dispassionately consider the facts presented before the court and arrive at a just decision under the law.
“I urge all my teeming supporters to remain calm and law-abiding. Justice will surely prevail in this matter to the glory of our God.”
In a related pre-election matter, a Federal High Court in Abuja of coordinate jurisdiction had in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/758/2020, filed by Action Democratic Party (ADP), dismissed the matter with no cost because the reliefs sought had been overtaken by events.
The court held that the election has been conducted, a winner had been declared by INEC and Mr Ize-Iyamu was not challenging the result of the election.
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