By Adedayo Akinwale
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 Edo governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has decided not to file petition challenging the outcome of the election at the tribunal.
The APC candidate said he would continue to pursue two ongoing pre-election cases against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, challenging his eligibility to contest the election.
He added that his decision to continue with the cases followed the decision of the PDP and its flagbearer to continue to pursue several pre-election suits in various courts against himself and APC.
Ize-Iyamu in a statement issued Monday said even though the governorship election in the state was characterised by malpractices, he decided not to challenge the outcome because of the pronouncement by the leadership of the party and highly placed individuals endorsing the election.
Ize-Iyamu stressed that contrary to orchestrated media reports, the election was neither free nor fair.
He added that there were several episodes of violence, voter intimidation and falsification of results.
Ize-Iyamu said in particular, there were unlawful cancellations of results particularly from Urhonigbe South and North in Orhiomwon, while results were falsified from many polling units in Ofunama in Ovia South West, and in parts of Ovia North East, Owan West, Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan North East, Esan West, Esan South East, and Uhunmwode Local Government Areas.
He stated: “These malpractices could easily form the basis to challenge the election results. We have however decided not to commence an election petition. This is to avoid further tension in the state. We are also mindful that the leadership of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and many well-placed individuals have made pronouncements endorsing the process, which we have chosen to respect”
Ize-Iyamu stressed that sadly, two persons were killed during the election, while gun-wielding thugs took over collation centres in many locations without the intervention of law-enforcement agents.
He claimed that there were also several cases of malfunctioning card readers, which disenfranchised duly registered voters, in addition to many cases of unregistered voters voting with pre-purchased voters’ cards not collected by their actual owners.
Ize-Iyamu stated: “Nonetheless, we must emphasize that elections are far more than actual voting, just as democracy includes more than just elections. It is in this light that we draw attention to the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its flagbearers have continued to pursue several pre-election suits in various courts against us, all totalling 13. One of such cases came up in the High Court, Benin on 2nd October, 2020, days after the election.
“On our part, we had filed two pre-election cases against the PDP and its flagbearer challenging their eligibility to contest the election. These are all lawful and integral parts of the electoral process in any democracy, which we must all respect and acknowledge as genuine democrats.
“The outcome of these pending cases have direct effect on the election. Consequently, we have decided to continue with our pre-election cases in full exercise of our legal rights, just as our opponents have considered it their prerogative to also continue with their pre-election cases against us.”