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Obaseki, Shaibu In Fresh Trouble As Tribunal Gets Five Petitions Against Their Re-Election



The Edo State Election Tribunal in Benin has said it received five (5) petitions against the re-election of Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu. gathered that the Election Tribunal in Benin , the Edo State capital received five petitions at the expiration of the deadline in the night of October 10.

According to our source, the petitions are seeking the nullification of the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The petitioners urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise a fresh election that should exclude the PDP, Obaseki and Shaibu.

They said the party and its candidates should be disqualified for alleged forgery of their certificates.

As at Friday afternoon, three petitions had been filed at the tribunal by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel; Action Peoples Party (APP), without joining its governorship candidate, Amos Areloegbe; and Action Alliance (AA) and its governorship candidate, Ukonga Onaivi.

In the evening of last Friday, Allied Peoples Movement (APM) filed a petition excluding its governorship candidate, Igbineweka Osamuede.

It listed the INEC, PDP, Obaseki and Shaibu as respondents while alleging irregularities in the September 19 governorship election.
The party added that Obaseki and Shaibu were not qualified to contest the poll.

APM alleged that the PDP candidates were not duly elected and/or returned by a majority of lawful votes cast.

According to the party, their election, declaration and return should be declared null void and of no effect whatsoever, while the Certificates of Return given to them by INEC should be nullified.

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APM also prayed for an order nullifying the governorship election of September 19, 2020, in Edo State for substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the extant Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, thereby ordering a fresh election.

On Saturday, the last day for filing petitions, Tracy Agol, who hails from Okpella in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, filed a petition without joining her political party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), with INEC, PDP and Obaseki as respondents.

But she insisted that the governor was not qualified to contest the September 19 election.

Agol’s sole ground for filing the petition was that Obaseki, at the time of the poll, was not qualified to contest the election.

She quoted Section 138 (1) (a) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, alleging that the governor presented forged/false certificate to INEC, contrary to Section 182 (1) (J) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended.

The NNPP’s governorship candidate also prayed for an order to compel INEC to conduct a fresh election involving all the qualified candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki, whom she alleged were constitutionally disqualified from contesting the 2020 governorship election.

She said the Certificate of Return INEC issued to Obaseki must also be nullified.

Agol, alternatively, sought a declaration that Obaseki’s participation in the election should be declared null and void, having participated in the primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and later PDP, in respect of the same governorship election in the state.

APP, in the petition against Obaseki, PDP and INEC as respondents, claimed that it was unlawfully excluded from the poll.

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AA and its governorship candidate, in the petition against Obaseki, PDP and INEC (respondents), claimed that Onaivi was also excluded unlawfully, despite being the validly-nominated candidate of the party, in line with the Electoral Act.

APP (without its candidate) and AA (with its governorship candidate) prayed the tribunal to nullify the September 19 governorship election in Edo State and organise a fresh election within 90 days.

The prayed the tribunal to ensure that AA’s validly-nominated candidate (Onaivi) and APP should be included in the new ballot papers.

In the first petition, ADP and its governorship candidate, with INEC, PDP, Obaseki, APC and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, as respondents, prayed the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki for 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 election involving all other qualified governorship candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki.

Judges of the tribunal, when inaugurated, will sit at the Edo State High Court in Benin.

Our reporter was at the tribunal venue yesterday to get details of the filed petitions, but only the cover pages were on display.

The Secretary to the tribunal, Sunday Martins, later sent the details to The Nation through WhatsApp.

Martins also told our reporter through that the 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, after which the inaugural sitting of the tribunal would be held.