The Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has responded to the petition filed against the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 governorship election by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) before the Election Petition Tribunal.
In the petition, ADP is challenging the victory of Obaseki on the ground that there were fatal errors in the certificates presented by the governor to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and as such, he was not qualified to be a candidate in the election where he was declared the winner.
Governor Obaseki, it would be recalled, was disqualified from seeking a second term by his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) under which platform he won the election in 2016, on the ground that his certificates contained fatal errors. The governor thereafter moved to the PDP where he as adopted as the party’s candidate and he went ahead to win the contest for a second term.
Though declared winner of the election, the governor has two pre-election matters to contend with as instituted by the APC and its candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, both matters bothering on allegation of forgery and giving false information, in addition to the five petitions pending before the tribunal.
In its reply to the petition the ADP, the PDP is challenging the jurisdiction of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal to hear the petition – “there was a misstatement in mixing up the year of graduation with the year of admission,” contending that the issue was a pre-election matter which the tribunal cannot entertain.
According to the PDP, “while filling the forms for the election in 2016, Obaseki inadvertently and mistakenly wrote 1976 in a portion of the form for the year of the graduation which year was the year of his admission into the University of Ibadan.”
The party added that “at the time Obaseki was completing his Form CF001 in 2016, he deposed to an affidavit stating that he had misplaced the originals of all of his certificates while changing offices with the intention to apply for a re-issuance if his certificates. Subsequently, before Obaseki submitted his Form EC9 in 2020, the original certificate issued by University of Ibadan was eventually found which has the signatures of the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of the University.”
The PDP further submitted that the error in Obaseki’s certificate was due to the mechanism of the photocopier saying, “the original certificate was issued in A5 size; however, in order for the photocopy of the certificate to be attached to the Form CF001, the size was reduced to A4 and in the process, leaving out some information on the certificate.”
At the time Obaseki was completing his form CF001 in 2016, he deposed to an affidavit at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court Registry in 2016 stating that he had misplaced all his originals certificates and that he had written to all the school to reissue him with another certificate or give him certified true copy of the certificates.
PDP contended that “the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the petition for reason that same is statute-barred because the issues raised by the petitioner, are averments which are not relevant for the purpose of determining the petition at the Election Petition Tribunal, as the said averments relate to facts concerning the previous election conducted in 2016 and that since the election under dispute is that of September 2020 and as such should be dismissed.”
Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com
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