Ize-Iyamu: Why I will not withdraw pre-election suits against Obaseki

October 5, 2020
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Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki

Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Edo September 19 governorship election said he will continue with the suit challenging the suitability of Governor Godwin Obaseki to participate in the election.

He, however, said he will not challenge the outcome of the election at the tribunal.

Obaseki defeated the APC candidate in the election to secure a second term as the governor of Edo State in the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission on 20 September in Benin city, the capital of Edo State.

But the APC candidate, in a statement issued on his behalf on Monday by John Mayaki, the publicity secretary of his campaign council, noted that he will continue with the pre-election suits because the PDP and its flag-bearer have also continued to pursue the 13 pre-election suits in various courts against him and his party.

According to the statement, Ize-Iyamu spoke on Sunday after a thanksgiving service at Soul Winners Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Benin.

He noted that one of cases by the PDP was heard in a court in Benin on 2nd October, 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 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.”

However, Ize-Iyamu said though the election was riddled with a lot of malpractices and incidents of violence, he will not institute any action at the tribunal to challenge the outcome.

According to him, contrary to the narrative in the media, the election was neither free nor fair.

“There were several episodes of violence, voter intimidation and falsification of results. In particular, there were unlawful cancellation 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,” Ize-Iyamu said.

He also claimed 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.

In addition, the APC governorship candidate said there were also several cases of malfunctioning card readers, which disenfranchised duly registered voters as well as many cases of unregistered voters voting with pre-purchased voters’ cards not collected by their actual owners.

“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.

“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-bearers have continued to pursue several pre-election suits in various courts against us, all totaling 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 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 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,” he said.

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