Though the candidate of the main opposition party in the just concluded Edo State governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu had foreclosed challenging the victory of incumbent governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Godwin Obaseki, at the state Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin, there appears to be no respite yet for the governor. This is because another aggrieved candidate, Iboi Lucky Emmanuel of the Action Democratic Party, ADP has filed a petition at the tribunal on Monday.
The ADP candidate who came a dizzying distant third at the election scoring a paltry 2, 374 (0.44%) votes, filed his petition on a day Ize-Iyamu announced his decision not to challenge Obaseki’s victory at the disputed poll. He however resolved to focus his attention on the two pre-election cases filed before the election which questioned the eligibility of the governor and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, for the election. Iboi, and his party’s petition is similarly challenging Obaseki’s eligibility to contest the poll in the first instance because of alleged irregularities in his certificates, as well as the fact that he allegedly participated in both the APC and PDP primary elections.
Joined in the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the PDP, Governor Obaseki, the APC, and Ize-Iyamu as 1st to 5th respondents in that order. The petitioners averred that the University degree certificate submitted by the 3rd respondent, Godwin Noghehase Obaseki, issued by the University of Ibadan, UI, was defective. They claimed that in an affidavit deposed to, and presented to INEC in his Form CF001 in 2016, Obaseki submitted a certificate purported to have been signed by the Vice Chancellor, and the Registrar of the University, adding that in the Form EC9 submitted to INEC in 2020, Obaseki had attached an undated certificate with only one signatory purporting to be the signature of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan.
Identifying more irregularities in the said UI certificate, the petitioners also alleged that the Vice Chancellor who signed the Degree Certificate being presented by Governor Godwin Obaseki, died in 2015 after retirement for a long time and couldn’t have signed a re-issued certificate in 2020.
“The petitioners will rely on oral and documentary evidence to show that Professor Tekena Tamuno who was Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan from December 1975 to November 1979 had not only died in 2015, but could not also have signed a document purporting to be a document of the University of Ibadan after his retirement and death”, they submitted.
The ADP candidate therefore concluded that Obaseki (3rd respondent) was not qualified to have contested the governorship election held on September 19, and so the votes credited to him were null and void and of no effect and value.
In their prayers, the petitioners prayed for a “declaration that the 3rd Respondent (Obaseki) presented a forged and /or a false certificate to INEC in violation of section 182(1) [I] of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); a declaration that the 3rd respondent was at the time the election which held on 19/9/2020, not qualified to contest the election for having submitted a false/forged document or certificate to the 3rd respondent, (INEC) along with his Form EC9”.
They consequently sought the orders of the tribunal “disqualifying the 3rd respondent as contestant in the said Edo State Governorship Election which held on 19/9/202; nullifying the Governorship election which held on 19/9/2020 in view of the fact that the 1st respondent (INEC) returned the 3rd respondent (Obaseki) who was not qualified to contest the election as the winner of the election; and directing the 1st respondent to conduct a fresh election between all the qualified contestants in that election apart from the 2nd and 3rd respondents who are constitutionally disqualified from contesting the 2020 Governorship election in Edo State”.
The petitioners further prayed the tribunal to grant “an order nullifying the certificate of return issued by the 1st respondent to the 3rd respondent”; or in the alternative to declare “that the 3rd respondent’s participation in the Edo State Governorship election held on 19/9/2020 is null and void having sought and participated in the primary election process for two different political parties (namely PDP and APC) in respect of the same governorship election in Edo State”.
They also prayed the tribunal to issue “an order so disqualifying the 3rd respondent and nullifying the votes cast for him in the Governorship election held in Edo State on 19/9/2020 and ordering the 1st respondent to conduct a fresh election between all other qualified candidates excluding the 2nd and 3rd Respondents”.