Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recently conducted September 19 Edo Governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, says he will not be challenging the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in court.
Ize-Iyamu stated this in a personally signed statement forwarded to Igbere TV on Monday. He, however, said he would pursue pending pre-election cases against Obaseki, saying the governor has refused to discontinue similar cases against himself(Ize-Iyamu) and his deputy, Gani Audu.
Foremost lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun, is leading four other SANs in cases of certificate forgery and perjury instituted against Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, at a Federal High Court in Benin City. The APC and a member of the party, Mr. Edobor Williams, instituted the cases.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to disqualify the governor and his deputy from participating in the September 19 governorship election in the state as well as prevent their party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from fielding any candidates in the election.
In two separate suits sighted by Igbere TV, the plaintiffs accused the duo of Obaseki and Shaibu of lying on oath and submitting false documents to INEC to aid their qualifications in the election. According to them, the alleged offences of the defendants run contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, and the punishment is automatic disqualification.
The plaintiffs are also asking the court to bar the PDP from participating or representing itself in the September 19 governorship election for sponsoring ineligible candidates.
The plaintiffs also want the court to declare that Obaseki’s claim that he worked with Afrinvest Limited from 1994 to 2014, when he retired, was false.
Aside the alleged falsification of documents and lying on oath, the plaintiffs want the PDP standard bearers disqualified on the grounds that the waiver granted them by the PDP last month contravened section 177 of the 1999 Constitution.
In the other suit marked FHC/B/CS/75/2020, which has Shaibu, PDP and INEC as first, second and third respondents, respectively, the plaintiffs, apart from accusing Shaibu of also parading false academic documents, want him disqualified for presenting forged tax clearance certificate to INEC in 2006 in aid of his qualification for the 2007 House of Assembly election in Edo State in 2007.
On Shaibu’s academic record, the plaintiffs claimed discrepancies and alleged forgery in his WAEC result, adding that Shaibu’s claim that he obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Benin in 2012 was false.
The Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Monday, August 17, 2020, granted the application of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to serve court processes on Governor Obaseki, and his deputy, Shaibu through the office of the Attorney General of the state.
The Federal High Court 1, Benin City, presided over by Justice M.G. Umar in Suit No. FHC/B/CS/74/202: All Progressive Congress & Anor v. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and Ors, and Suit No. FHC/B/CS/75/2020: All Progressives Congress & Anor. v. Phillip Shaibu & Ors, after hearing Counsel for the APC, Victor Ohiosuma Esq., leading P.E. Uwadiae Esq., ordered substituted service of the Originating Processes in the matter, on the governor and his deputy.
This was sequel to the facts deposed to in affidavits in support of the application filed seeking for an Order of Substituted Service, the evasiveness of both Obaseki and Shaibu to receive the Originating Processes in respect of the said matters that question the academic qualifications of both the governor and his deputy in standing in as candidates of the PDP in the election.
Igbere TV reports that Obaseki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party had defeated Ize-Iyamu in a keenly contested election which was deemed free and fair by many observers including President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress – both have equally congratulated the governor.
But in the statement forwarded to Igbere TV on Monday, Pastor Ize-Iyamu insisted that the election was marred by violence, irregularities while alleging cancelling of votes in areas he had won and massive falsification of results.
The APC candidate however said as a democrat, he won’t be going to the Edo Election Petitions Tribunal out of respect for President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress national body (who had earlier congratulated Obaseki) and to avoid tension in the state but would continue with the pending pre-election cases in court.