The Court of Appeal in Benin on Thursday morning ordered the Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to retry an application challenging Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s eligibility to contest the July 14, 2012 poll based on his qualifications.
The application filed by PDP’s candidate, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.), is challenging Oshiomhole’s primary and modern school qualifications.
In his claims, the PDP candidate said Oshiomhole was not eligible to contest the election as a result of his academic qualification, as provided for in the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
However, on September 27, the tribunal said it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate in the matter.
The tribunal led by Justice Suleiman Ambrusa ruled that the issue of qualification was a pre-election matter.
The tribunal said the petitioner ought to have contested Oshiomhole’s academic qualifications in a court before the election held.
It stated that the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) mandated parties in an election to challenge the academic qualifications of candidates before an election.
The tribunal, which comprised Jusices Ambrusia, Esor Teetito and Danlami Senchi, was dissolved in late October based on a petition by lawyers representing Airhiavbere.
In the petition to the National Judicial Council, the lawyers expressed loss of confidence in the tribunal on the grounds that its members had been compromised.
A new panel was subsequently set up.
The PDP candidate headed to the appeal court, asking it to void the ruling of the tribunal on the governor’s academic qualifications.