The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin on Monday set aside the January 6, 2021 judgment of the Edo State High Court which annulled the candidacy of the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Gani Audu, in the September 19, 2020 governorship election on the ground that Audu presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in his Form EC9 to enable him contest the election.
The lower court, presided over by Justice Helen Adesuwa Courage-Ogbebor, ruled that by her decision, the APC did not have a candidate for the election. The APC, Ize-Iyamu, and Audu had filed separate appeals against the ruling. In a unanimous judgment, the appeal court judges said there was no evidence of forgery of credentials by Gani Audu. They also held that the case, filed in the lower court by Kadiri Oshoakpemhe, was statute barred as it was filed outside the 14 days constitutional provision. The judgment, read by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, and supported by Justices Biobele Abraham Georgewill and O.E. Oho, dismissed the case at the lower court as “grossly incompetent”. The judges also ruled that the suit at the lower court was filed out of time by two days which made it statue barred. They also held that Oshoakpemhe could not prove the case of the forgery against Gani Audu beyond reasonable doubt by providing the original of the forged document to the court. Dismissing the case, the appellate court posited that the first respondent was “trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and his case is grossly incompetent. The judgment of the trial court delivered on January 6 which disqualified the appellant and Audu Ganiyu from contesting respectively as governor and deputy governor is set aside”.