11 January 2013

Nigeria: S/Court Bars Tribunal From Probing Oshiomhole's Educational Qualification

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to stop further probe into the educational qualification of Gov. Adam Oshiomhole.

Delivering a ruling on an appeal filed by the governor, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour held that the respondent (retired Maj.-Gen.

Charles Airhiavbere) of the PDP did not capture such initiative in his petition. Oshiomole had prayed the apex court to set aside the decision of the Appeal Court in Benin, which allegedly imported a relief not canvassed by Airhiavbere against him.

Airhiavbere, who contested the 2012 governorship election on the platform of the PDP, approached the Tribunal in Benin to challenge alleged malpractices in the conduct of the July 14, 2012 governorship election.

"As all of us can see from the petition filed by Airhiavbere, there is no nexus between the applicant's educational qualification and the issue which formed the ground of the petition.

"The decision of the Appeal Court to include that aspect of the paragraph even when it was intelligently removed from the body of the petition by the Tribunal panel, gives cause to worry.

"This amounts to possibly assisting the petitioner with an issue which did not form any ground in the petition.

"The only ground of the petition which is contained in Paragraph 30 of the petition is based on alleged election malpractices in about 55 polling stations.

"In summary, therefore, the decision of the appellate court directing the Tribunal to probe the educational qualification of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole, is hereby set aside.

"The only matter left for the Tribunal to determine is whether or not there are issues of malpractices and fraud in the 2012 Edo governorship election," he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor had approached the apex court to challenge the decision of the Appeal court on his educational qualification.

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier removed that issue which was only canvassed by the respondent in his reply and a not an original ground in the petition.

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