Petitions against the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the September 19 governorship election in Edo State have risen to three from the initial one at the Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin with the likelihood of fresh election, even as some of the petitioners demand exclusion of PDP and Obaseki.
The initial petition was from Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel, while the two new petitions came from Action Alliance (AA) and its standard bearer, Ukonga Onaivi, and the Action Peoples Party (APP), without joining its governorship candidate.
Judges of the tribunal, when inaugurated, will be sitting at the Edo State High Court in Benin, the state capital.
Our reporter, who was at the tribunal’s venue yesterday, gathered that today (Saturday) would be the last day for filing petitions by political parties and their candidates.
Secretary to the tribunal, Sunday Martins, told our reporter that respondents in the various petitions would have 21 days, from the dates of filing the petitions by the petitioners, to respond to the petitions/allegations levelled, after which the inaugural sitting of the tribunal would be held.
APP, in the petition against Obaseki, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as respondents, with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/02/2020; claimed it was unlawfully excluded.
AA and its governorship candidate, in the petition with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/03/2020, against Obaseki, PDP and INEC (respondents), claimed that Onaivi was also excluded unlawfully, in spite of being the validly-nominated candidate of the party, in line with the Electoral Act.
APP, AA and its governorship candidate prayed the tribunal to nullify the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, where INEC gave victory to Obaseki, with fresh election to be ordered within 90 days, while the validly-nominated candidate (Onaivi of AA) and APP should be included in the new ballot papers.
The third (earlier) petition came from ADP and its governorship candidate, while having as respondents: INEC, PDP, Obaseki, All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
ADP and Emmanuel prayed the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki over his controversial first degree certificate from the University of Ibadan (UI) and nullify the votes cast for him, thereby ordering INEC to conduct a fresh, excluding PDP and Obaseki.
Ize-Iyamu, on October 5, disclosed that he would not approach the election petitions tribunal on the declaration by INEC of Obaseki as the winner of the bloody and violent poll, where two persons lost their lives and many people were injured, with thuggery and vote-buying becoming the order of the day.
He however revealed that he would continue with the two pre-election cases in court, against the PDP, Obaseki and his running mate, Philip Shaibu, challenging their eligibility to contest the election.