The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, Thursday, stormed the venue of Edo governorship election petitions tribunal at the state’s High Court complex on Sapele Road, Benin.
Shaibu and Ogie were at the tribunal’s sitting from 9 a.m., with the deputy governor, a respondent in one of the four remaining petitions, frequently moving out of and into the courtroom to answer or make calls.
Edo deputy governor eventually left the venue of the tribunal’s sitting at 12:43 p.m., before the 1p.m. break, while Ogie, a lawyer, and Shaibu, a former students’ union leader, did not return to the venue on resumption from break at 2:30 p.m.
There was continuation of hearing yesterday in the petitions from Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel; Action Peoples Party (APP) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM), while hearing would continue today (Wednesday) in the petition by the governorship candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Tracy Agol.
Justice Yunusa Musa, who led two other judges (Justices Suleiman Yahaya Abubakar and Olufunmilayo Stanley), adjourned till today (Wednesday) for continuation of hearing in the petitions.
ADP and its governorship candidate, in the petition with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/01/2020, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Godwin Obaseki, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, as respondents, prayed the tribunal to disqualify Obaseki over his controversial University of Ibadan’s (UI’s) controversial certificate and nullify the votes cast for him, thereby ordering INEC to conduct a fresh election involving all other qualified governorship candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki.
Agol prayed for an order to compel INEC to conduct fresh election involving all the qualified candidates, excluding PDP and Obaseki.
APP and APM also sought the nullification of the September 19 re-election of Obaseki and his deputy/running mate, while calling for fresh election by INEC, but to exclude PDP, Obaseki and Shaibu, in view of the call for their disqualification over alleged forgery of their certificates.
APP, in the petition against Obaseki, PDP and INEC as respondents, with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/02/2020, claimed that it was unlawfully excluded.
APM filed a petition with reference number: EPT/ED/GOV/04/2020, with INEC, PDP, Obaseki and Shaibu as respondents, while alleging irregularities during the September 19 governorship election and that Obaseki and Shaibu were not qualified to contest the poll.
On December 11 last year, the tribunal dismissed in a unanimous ruling, the petition by Action Alliance (AA) and its governorship candidate, Ukonga Onaivi, against Obaseki, PDP and INEC, for failing to file pre-hearing notice.
Penultimate Saturday at the Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja, the UI’s forgery and perjury suit against Obaseki by APC and one of its chieftains, Williams Edobor, was dismissed, with the plaintiffs accused of not being able to prove the criminal allegations beyond reasonable doubt.