The Edo Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked a Federal high court sitting in enin to disqualify the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Godwin Obaseki, from contesting Saturday’s governorship election.
The party anchored its request on two grounds including that Obaseki allegedly perjured by claiming to have graduated from University of Ibadan in 1976 with a B.A degree in Classical Studies when he did not and that he also failed to declare his purported membership of a secret cult as mandatorily required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Mr. Obaseki and INEC were named as respondents in the suit with registration number FHC/B/CO/120/16 dated September 1 and filed by Joseph Aghimien, on behalf of the PDP and its legal adviser, Edoba Omoregie.
The matter is yet to be heard.
The Chairman of the party, Dan Orbih, gave the hint about the pending lawsuit on Tuesday at a press conference in Benin City.
He called on voters in the state not to “waste their votes for the APC because, in law, the party has no candidate for the election.”
According to Mr. Orbih, the party asked the Federal High Court in Benin for a declaration that Mr. Obaseki’s statement that he graduated from the University of Ibadan with a B.A in Classical Studies in 1976 was false.
He said the APC candidate made the statement under oath in INEC form CF001, Part B, paragraph C dated July 11.
“In addition the party is asking for a declaration disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the Edo state governorship election scheduled for September 10, 2016 on grounds that he submitted false information on oath to the INEC on Form CF001 (and) therefore lied under other,” he said.
He added that Mr. Obaseki’s non-disclosure of his membership of a secret society disqualified him from contesting for the office of governor of Edo state.
“In all, Obaseki has failed to fulfil the requirements of the Constitution which in Section 182 (I) h) specifies the qualifications a person must have to contest the governorship of a state,” he said.
Responding to the PDP’s litigation, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Edo State, Godwin Erhahon, described the action as a move by a desperate and helpless party seeking to truncate the expected victory of the APC candidate.
“They have a right to go to court, but they are not the ones to give the verdict,” Mr. Erhahon said.
He said the case against Mr. Obaseki would not succeed before the court and that the APC candidate was properly screened by INEC which has the constitutional powers to do so.
Asked to respond to the specific allegation of perjury, Mr. Erhahon said his party would respond to the issue in court as it would be prejudicial to offer a defence.
“The PDP went to court and they are already out with the verdict that our candidate will be disqualified,” he said.
“That is prejudicial and contempt of the court.”