Appeal Court Reaffirms Sen Ashahfa’s Victory, Senator Gbenga Ashafa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) can now sing songs of victory as the Court of Appeal in Lagos has reaffirmed his election as the duly elected lawmaker representing Lagos-East senatorial district.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has however rejected the ruling, saying it will take the matter to the Supreme Court, The Punch reports.
The national and state assemblies election petitions tribunal had, on July 27, dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and its candidate, Olabisi Salis, in the March 28 National Assembly election.
The PDP afterward took the matter to the appeal court but the case was also struck out.
At the court of appeal, Salis and the PDP had alleged that the judgment of the election petition tribunal was inaccurate on the grounds that the tribunal erred on many issues in arriving at the decision to dismiss the petition.
The PDP also doubted the competence of the chairman of the tribunal stating that he was not qualified to preside over the case.
In its final judgement on Friday, September 11, the court of appeal dismissed the appeal saying there was no adequate evidence to prove that the tribunal chairman was not qualified to hold the office.
Ashafa in a statement commended the judiciary for the ruling saying that the season of politicking was over and it was time for serious work. He also extended a hand of friendship to his opponent, Salis.
“Senator Ashafa wishes to put it on the record that the time for politicking has gone and all contenders should sheathe their swords. In the spirit of democracy, I extend a hand of friendship to the PDP in Lagos-East. Let us work together for the development of our dear state,” the statement read.
Vowing to appeal the ruling, the PDP publicity secretary said it was unfortunate that most tribunals in Lagos had been compromised. He said the supreme court remained the last hope of the common man.
The PDP spokesman also compared the Lagos and Kogi tribunals saying that the evidence provided by the PDP in Kogi state was honoured by a court while the same evidence was rejected in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the ongoing trial of the Rivers state governorship election took a new turn on Friday, September 11, when a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Charles Okoye, testified against the PDP and Governor Nyesome Wike.
Okoye, a witness presented by the APC at the tribunal said the state’s election was not credible because it was marred by violence.
“The election was characterised by violence, shooting, ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters and other forms of impunity in the major part of Rivers.
“I did a compilation of field report of what was gathered by me and other members of my group who monitored the election,’’ he said.