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Edo governorship election petition tribunal begins sitting

Tribunal strikes out INEC’s application to stall presentation of Adeleke’s certificates in court

The Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday commenced sitting on petitions filed by political parties contending the outcome of the Saturday, September 19 governorship election that brought in Governor Godwin Obaseki for a second term.

The political parties in their various petitions seek to nullify Obaseki’s victory.

Obaseki, who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having scored the highest number of votes.

The parties in the election petition tribunal are Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

At the inaugural sitting in Benin City, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abdulrazaq Abdulkareem, assured that the court was committed to completing the five petitions before the tribunal within the stipulated time frame.

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Abdulkareem, who solicited the cooperation from all parties and counsel, also assured that the tribunal would perform its duties without prejudice for any party.

“We wish to assure you that in our quest to get to the truth of the matters before us; we shall act in good faith, and shall do our work with an open mind, without any form of bias or appearance of any preconception. We also pledge not to lend ourselves to any form of external influence,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the counsel, Ken Mozia assured the tribunal of counsels’ cooperation and promised they would do their best to file their applications within the specified timeframe.

During the sitting, the petitioners sought for an ex parte motion for substituted means of service against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate.

Following the petitioners’ applicant motion, the presiding justice granted their orders and directed the petitioners to serve them through any staff at the PDP secretariat located along First East Circular Road, Benin City.

The tribunal subsequently adjourned to Monday, December 7, for pre-hearing process.