•To continue pre-election cases against Edo gov
By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has disclosed that he would not challenge the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the election petition tribunal but would continue to pursue the two pre-election cases he had filed to challenge the eligibility of Obaseki to contest the election.
He added that his decision to continue with the cases followed the decision of the PDP and its candidate to continue to pursue several pre-election suits in various courts against himself and the APC.
Ize-Iyamu in a statement issued yesterday 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.
He, however, stressed that contrary to what he described as orchestrated media reports, the election was neither free nor fair.
He alleged that there were several episodes of violence, voter intimidation and falsification of results.
According to him, there were unlawful cancellations of results particularly from Urhonigbe South and North in Orhiomwon Local Government Area, 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 alleged that 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.
He said: “Nonetheless, we must emphasise 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 flag bearer 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 October 2, 2020, days after the election.
“On our part, we had filed two pre-election cases against the PDP and its flag bearer, 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 has a 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.”
Pre-election Matters False Hope, Says Edo PDP
Meanwhile, the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the pursuant of pre-election matters as a futile attempt by Ize-Iyamu to give hope to his defeat in the September 19 governorship election.
The party noted that Ize-Iyamu should know he cannot retrieve what he lost at the polls at the court, adding that the PDP and Obaseki, as well as the Edo people, are waiting for him.
In a statement issued yesterday in Benin City, capital of Edo State by the PDP state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, the party stated that the reality on the ground now is that the state has been reset and all hands are needed to sustain the gains of the last four years and move the state to greater heights.
According to the party, “It is not for the benevolence of the butcher that we have meat on the table, it is for his own selfish interest!
“We read a press statement credited to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, where he declared that he will not contest his defeat at the election petition tribunal but continue the cases he instituted against the PDP and Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“While we hold that Ize-Iyamu has the right to approach the courts for whatever reason, it is trite for him to allude to the cases the PDP filed against him as the reason for his actions. This attempt to justify legal action against the PDP and Governor Obaseki is disingenuous and destined to fail.
“As they say, hope is the currency of politicians. We are aware that the only currency left to share within the APC and EPM (Edo Peoples Movement) is the currency of hope. The futile pre-election matter is to act as oxygen for the few remaining Edo people still in APC/EPM bondage.
They are to be fed hope as a strategy so that the shackles fitted to their ankles and wrists can be maintained.
“The defeated APC candidate stated that the election, which has been adjudged as one of the best in the history of the country, was characterised by violence, manipulation, disenfranchisement amongst others, but will not challenge it. We reject and condemn his jaundiced position on the election and wish to advise him to show respect to the wishes of Edo people. He should respect their views and decisions as Edo people have been very kind to him.”