By Ozioruva Aliu
LESS than 24 hours after the governorship of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu said he was not going to challenge the outcome of the election at the election petition tribunal but would rather pursue the pre-election matters already in the court, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its candidate, Iboi Lucky Emmanuel as filed proceedings at the tribunal challenging the outcome of the contest.
Joined as respondents in the suit marked EPT/ED/GOV/01/2020 are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Andrew Osagie Ize-Iyamu as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents respectively.
According to the petition, ADP wants the tribunal to declare that by virtue of his non-qualification, the votes credited to the PDP candidate should be null and void and of no value and that the election should be nullified.
The petitioners are basing their petition on several grounds including allegation that Obaseki presented forged documents to contest the elections and also challenged the eligibility of the governor to contest the poll in the first instance because of the irregularities in his candidacy, regarding his certificate and the fact that he participated in both the APC and PDP primaries.
They claimed that in an affidavit deposed to and presented to INEC in his Form CF001 in 2016, Governor Obaseki submitted a certificate purported to have been signed by the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the University and that in the Form EC9 submitted to INEC in 2020, Obaseki attached an undated certificate with only one signatory purporting to be the signature of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan.
As part of the irregularities in the said UI certificate, the petitioners also alleged that the signature of 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 averred.
In their prayers, the petitioners prayed for “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 further prayer for ” 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 further sought orders such as “an order disqualifying the 3rd respondent as contestant in the said Edo State Governorship Election which held on 19/9/2020”
“An order nullifying the Governorship election which held on 19/9/2020 in view of the fact that the 1st respondent returned the 3rd respondent who was not qualified to contest the election as the winner of the election” and that INEC should conduct a fresh between all the qualified contestants in that election.
In the alternative, they asked the Tribunal 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”.