A Benin High Court on Friday, March 20, sacked Victor Emuankhagbon as the elected executive chairman of Esan South- East local government area.
The removal was sequel to a petition filed by Peter Aguele against the conduct of January 24, 2018 local government primary election that produced the ousted chairman as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Recall that in January 24, 2018, APC conducted primary elections to elect chairmen and councillors for the state local government elections in the state.
The elections were conducted March 3, 2018 by the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission ( EDSIEC).
Peter Aguele and Victor Emuankhagbon are both members of APC in the state.
In the petition, Aguele, argued that he was duly elected as the party’s candidate through direct primary while the ousted chairman argued that he emerged the candidate on consensus.
In his judgment, the presiding judge, Daniel Okungbowa, held that the petitioner is the rightful candidate of the party for the election, having emerged through direct primary.
He, however, ordered that the respondent should stop parading himself as the chairman of the council, and that he should refund all the monies so far paid to him while in office as chairman of the council in the last two years to the treasury of the council.
He also ordered that the petitioner should be paid all the mony and entitlements due to him since 2018 as the rightful candidate and the elected chairman of the council.
Reacting to the judgment, Peter Aguele, the now declared chairman of the council commended the judiciary for being the last hope of the common man.
Aguele, however, dedicated the victory to the people of Esan South-East local government and members of APC in the state and the local government.
In his reactions, Charity Aiguobarueghian, Esq, counsel to the ousted chairman, said his client will challenged the judgment at the court of Appeal.
While commending the court for the judgment, he however noted that there was miscarriage of justice as the petitioner was unable to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
On his part, Nelson Irehovbude, from Dele Igbinedion chambers, commended the court for a well considered and delivered judgment.
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Irehovbude, said by the virtue of the court judgment, Peter Aguele is now the substantive chairman of the council.
“The fact of the case was that the respondents claimed that there was a consensus during the local government primary election which took place on January 24, 2018.
“And we said no that the emergency of a party candidate was by direct primary election, and that direct primary election was actually conducted which produced Peter Aguele, and that he was the substantive chairman, voted for and won the local government election.
“The court declarations are in line with our petition, that the first defendant (APC) should be restrained from parading the third defendant which is Victor Emuankhagbon as the chairman elect of the council.
“And now the court has granted the restraining order, and declared Peter Aguele, as the substantive chairman of the council”, he added.
Some council chairmen who were in the court in solidarity with the sacked chairman, however, left the court disappointed and unhappy.