Two more political parties file petitions to nullify Obaseki’s victory
At the close of submission of petitions for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State on October 10, two more political parties have filed their petitions seeking to nullify the victory of Godwin Obaseki, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the election.
In the two separate petitions filed at the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday, the two political parties, the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), are asking the tribunal to nullify the declaration of Obaseki as the winner of the election on the grounds that the conduct of the September poll violated, substantially, the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian and the Extant Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended 2015).
These two new petitions bring to five, the numbers of petitions against the election and the winner, with the submission of petitions closed on Saturday, October 10. Respondents have 21 days to respond to the issues canvassed in the petitions after which the tribunal will commence sitting.
In its petition, APM joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, as 1st to 4th respondents in that order, while Agol Trace Ebun, NNPP candidate in the election joined INEC, PDP and Obaseki as 1st to 3rd respondents in that order.
The similarities in the two separate petitions and others before them bother on the issues of the eligibility or otherwise of Obaseki to contest the election on the claim that he submitted false and or forged certificates to INEC, an allegation of Obaseki’s participation in two separate primary elections of two different political parties, namely: PDP and the All Progressive Congress (APC), for the same election and other sundry matters.
The two separate petitions also sought similar reliefs such as a declaration that Obaseki was not duly elected in the said September 19, 2020 election by virtue of his not being qualified to contest having allegedly submitted false and or forged certificate; a declaration that PDP and Obaseki are not qualified to contest the poll in the first instance because of the allegedly false and or forged certificate; an order asking INEC to conduct a fresh election among only qualified candidates in the aforesaid election to the exclusion of PDP and Obaseki and an order to withdraw the certificate of return earlier issued to Obaseki by INEC.
NNPP, however, in its petition, sought a new relief to the extent that since Obaseki did not indicate Tue primary school he attended, is deemed not to have been educated up to Second School Level or its equivalent, and as such not qualified to contest the election.
APM, alternatively, asked the tribunal to nullify the election on the grounds that the return of Obaseki as the winner “is voided by acts bothering on rigging and manipulation of election results; unprecedented acts of violence, thuggery and coercion of voters and unlawful interference in the electoral process by the respondents”.
The three other political parties which earlier filed their petitions are Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP) and Action Alliance (AA), with APP and AA contesting the outcome of the election on the grounds that they were unlawfully excluded from the election.