A total of five political parties filed petitions at the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Benin City, the state capital, at the close of submission of petitions on October 10, 2020.
They are all seeking to nullify the election of Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 19, 2020, poll in the state.
Earlier, three political parties, including the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP) and Action Alliance (AA) had filed petitions challenging the election. APP and AA are contesting the outcome of the election on the grounds that they were unlawfully excluded from the election.
At the weekend, two more political parties, Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), filed their petitions seeking to nullify the election, bringing the number of petitions to five.
In separate petitions, APM and 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 election violated, substantially, the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian and the Extant Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended 2015).
The two petitions, like the first three that were filed, border on the issues of the eligibility or otherwise of the PDP candidate to contest the election. They claimed that he submitted false and/or forged certificates to INEC.
The parties also alleged that Obaseki participated in two separate primary elections of two different political parties of the PDP and the APC for the same election and other sundry matters.
The petitioners are seeking 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 the governor by INEC.
NNPP, on its part, contended that since Obaseki did not indicate the primary school he attended, he is deemed not to have been educated up to Secondary School Level or its equivalent, and as such not qualified to contest the election.
On the other hand, the APM, is seeking the nullification of the election on the grounds that the return of the PDP candidate as winner “are 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.”