Politics

Edo 2020: ADP Files Petition, Asks Tribunal To Sack Obaseki

The Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its candidate in the September 19, 2020, governorship election in Edo State, Iboi Lucky Emmanuel, have filed a petition at the Edo State Governorship Election Tribunal.

The petitioners are challenging the election of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the grounds that he was not eligible to seek the office of the governor.

According to the petition seen by ALEDEH News on Tuesday, five parties were listed as respondents. The 1st respondent is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while the 2nd respondent and 3rd respondents are the PDP and Obaseki respectively. The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the 4th respondent while its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was listed as the 5th respondent.

In the petition, the ADP and its candidate alleged that Obaseki, who was declared winner of the election by INEC was not qualified to contest the election in line with Section 138 (1) (a) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

The petitioners alleged that the PDP candidate presented a forged/false certificate to INEC contrary to section 182 (1) (j) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

They further noted that Obaseki submitted a Form EC9 to the 1st respondent in which he attached a certificate purported to have been issued to him by the University of Ibadan.

The petitioners stated that a “close scrutiny” of the said certificate shows that it is undated and has only the signature of the vice chancellor on it. They pleaded to rely on the copy of the said Form EC9 at the trial.

The ADP and its candidate also noted that Obaseki, in an affidavit he deposed to in 2016, had claimed that he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in 1976 but “now claimed to have obtained the same Bachelor’s Degree in 1979.”

“The Petition state that the 3rd respondent submitted a false and/or a forged certificate along with his form EC9 to the 1st respondent in a bid to contest the 2020 governorship election in Edo State which held on 19th September, 2020,” the petition read.

They claimed that in the affidavit deposed to by Obaseki in 2016, he deposed to the fact that he had lost the originals of his certificates and that he wanted to approach the university to re-isssue the certificate to him.

The petitioners further claimed that Professor Takena Tamuno, the Vice Chancellor, who purportedly signed Obaseki’s certificate died in 2015 after retirement for a long time and could not have signed a re-issued certificate to the PDP candidate beyond 2016 after he had died.

“The petitioners will rely on oral and documentary evidence to show that the said Professor Takena Tamuno who was the 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 Universtiy of Ibadan after his retirement and death,” the petition read.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

The petitioners also alleged that, in the Form EC9, Obaseki failed to fill any information in the column for primary school.

“The petitioner will at the trial contend and demonstrate that a person who by his own showing never attended a primary school cannot be said to have been ‘Educated to School Certificate Level or its equivalent’ as prescribed by Section 177 (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” the petition stated.

Recall that Obaseki had sought the nomination of the APC before he was disqualified from the participating in the primary election over alleged discrepancies in his certificates. He subsequently joined the PDP where he was given the ticket to run for re-election.

The petitioners also premised their petition on the fact that the PDP candidate allegedly sought double nomination contrary to the Section 37 of the Electoral Act.

“After the 3rd respondent bought APC governorship form to contest the primary election of the APC (4th respondent) governorship form to contest the primary election of the APC, the 3rd respondent duly presented himself for screening by the said APC screening committee in 2020 indicating that the 3rd respondent was actively and deliberately seeking the nomination of the said All Progressives Congress in the 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo State scheduled for the 19th September 2020, which said election is also the subject matter of this election.

“The petitioners state that the 3rd respondent surprisingly, in the same election jumped into the 2nd respondent to seek the nomination of the 2nd respondent in the same election.

“The petitioners at the trial will contend that it offends Section 37 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) for any single candidate to seek double nomination in the same election.

“The petitioners state that the 3rd respondent by operation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the relevant laws regulating elections in Nigeria especially the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) is disqualified from contesting the governorship election in Edo State in 2020, which election is the subject matter of this petition. The 3rd respondent was not disqualified to contest the election,” the petition further read.

Consequently, the petitioners are seeking a declaration that Obaseki presented a forged and/or false certificate to INEC; a declaration that Obaseki was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election for having submitted a false/forged document or certificate; and an order disqualifying the PDP candidate as contestant in the election.

Other prayers are an order nullifying the election in view of the fact that INEC returned Obaseki, who was allegedly not qualified to contest the election, as the winner of the election; an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election between all the qualified contestants in that election apart from the PDP and its candidate who “are constitutionally disqualified” from contesting the election; and an order nullifying the certificate of return issued by INEC to the PDP candidate.

Alternatively, the petitioners are seeking a declaration that Obaseki’s participation in the election is “null and void having sought and participated in the primary election process for two different political parties (namely PDP and APC).”

“An order so disqualifying Obaseki and nullifying the votes cast for him in the said 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,” they added.

In a move to dispel allegations of forgery levelled against Obaseki, in June, the University of Ibadan confirmed that the governor indeed graduated from the institution in 1979.

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