The Court of Appeal President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has established a Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Secretariat in Edo State.
Justice Dongban-Mensem equally constituted a three-member panel of Justices to entertain petitions by parties and candidates that are aggrieved with the outcome of the governorship election held in the state last Saturday.
A statement that was signed by Secretary of the tribunal, Mr. Sunday Martins, disclosed that the High Court Complex (Election Petition Court Hall), Sapele Road, Benin City, would be used for the hearing of the cases.
It read: “The general public is hereby put on notice that the Honourable President of Court of Appeal of Nigeria Hon. Justice has established the Election Petition Tribunal Secretariat and accordingly constituted a Panel in respect of the Governorship Election conducted in Edo State.
“The Honorable Chief Judge of the State Hon Justice B. A. Edig’m has graciously approved the use of High Court Complex (Election Petition Court Hall), Sapele Road, Benin City for the Tribunal Exercise. The Secretariat is now open”.
It will be recalled that 14 political parties sponsored candidates that contested the Edo state gubernatorial election that was won by the incumbent governor who was the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had in the final result that was announced by the Edo State Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, declared that Obaseki secured a total of 307, 955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC who polled 223,619 votes.
President Muhammadu Buhari had few hours after the results were announced, commended the election, even as pledged his commitment to free and fair polls in the country.
However, the Edo State Chapter of the APC rejected the outcome of the election, alleging that it was rigged
Chairman of the Edo APC Media Campaign Council, Mr John Mayaki, said in a statement that the election was fraught with irregularities.
“Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled them, they decreased the votes in areas we had an advantage. They rejected our results and jerked up theirs,” Mayaki alleged.
Meanwhile, in a later statement by Chairman of the APC National Caretaker Committee, Mala Buni, the party lauded the peaceful conduct of the election, saying its outcome represented a victory for Nigeria’s democracy.
The APC Caretaker Committee Chairman exposed his position on the election, hours after he had a meeting with President Buhari, alongside the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, who was head of the party’s campaign team in Edo.
Governor Buni’s statement read in part: “Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when the electoral contest become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election.
“Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election. September 19, 2020, Edo election should present a new watershed.
“We will work hard to win the Ondo election. Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests. We will therefore accordingly expect a congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner”, he added.
Governorship candidate of the party, Pastor Ize-Iyamu earlier said he would appraise the entire exercise and decide his next line of action.