Governor Adams Oshiomhole
By Adibe Emenyonu
Edo State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has filed its preliminary objection to the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the July 14 governorship election in the state, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), at the state’s Governorship Election Tribunal challenging the re-election of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The PDP had early this month filed a suit challenging the re-election of Oshiomhole but later withdrew barely 24 hours after filing the suit, while its candidate insisted he was going ahead with his case irrespective of his party’s position.
Against this backdrop, the Edo ACN filed a preliminary objection and reply to the petition by Airhiavbere in which he sought to be declared the winner of the election.
The ACN in its objection through its counsel, Ken Mozia (SAN), declared as follows: “That the Electoral Act (as amended) did not prescribe the qualification to be met by a candidate seeking to contest election to the office of the governor of state”, and therefore called for disregard by the PDP candidate’s claim that Oshiomhole did not have the educational qualification to contest as governor of the state.
“The position of Airhiavbere that despite the non updating of voters register and the agreement that the voters register used for the 2011 general elections be used, amended voters’ register was used for the election which contributed to his loss, the ACN contested that the argument was not tenable since it was a pre-election matter.
“Paragraph 13 (iii) of the petition which raises the issue of the validity of the voters’ registers used for the conduct of the House of Assembly and National Assembly election in 2011 is incompetent as it contains matters that are irrelevant.” and raise pre-election matters not recognisable before this tribunal,” the party stated.
It went further to contend that the said voters’register could have been used for the July 14 election “because presiding officers were required to put marks on them during the elections which would render them unusable for other elections.”
Arguing that no voters register was amended or altered as alleged, the ACN said: “The 3rd respondent (INEC) printed or produced copies of voters register from the Direct Data Capture Machine used for the voters registration in 2011 which is usually referred to as the electronic version and a soft copy was made available to the parties by the 3rd respondent before the election.”
The party also denied that it used thugs to harass and intimidate voters during the election as it said it does not have thugs within its party and that there were presence of security agencies including police and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)in polling units and soldiers deployed to strategic location on the roads throughout the state and therefore wondered where the alleged thug operated.
“The petitioners are not entitled to the reliefs claimed or any relief at all. The petition should therefore be dismissed with substantial cost and the Honourable Tribunal should affirm the return of the 1st Respondent as the duly elected governor of Edo State.”