Vanguard (Lagos)

7 August 2012

Nigeria: Edo PDP Disowns Guber Election Petition

opinion

Barely 72 hours after Edo State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), filed a petition at the state election petition tribunal challenging the outcome of the July 14, 2012 poll in the state, the party, yesterday, said it had decided not to file a petition against the re-election of Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.

State Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, in a statement, said though the party worked hard to ensure the victory of its candidate, Gen. Airhiavbere, the results that were declared by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were in favour of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate, Oshiomhole.

He alleged that while PDP worked and abided by the principle of one man, one vote, its main opponent in the election engaged the instrumentality of intimidation, insisting that ACN obstructed the continuous voters re-registration exercise thereby preventing eligible voters from being registered and voting during the election.

Edo PDP also alleged that its main opponent manipulated existing voters registers as well as the results of the election to its advantage, insisting that the results of the election were not only ridiculous but completely at variance with rational reasoning and human expectations.

In reference to Governor Oshiomhole's protest against INEC's handling of the conduct of the election, Chief Orbih said the result of the same election was now being hailed by all because it was PDP that lost.

He said: "It has now become a tradition that when PDP loses an election, the election is free and fair. With the above assessment of the results, PDP is aware of the divergent views and expressions by the public. PDP is also aware of the legal options. However, PDP has fully consulted the leadership of the party within and outside the state.

"During these consultations, legal opinions were sought and it was the conclusion of the party that while we appreciated the effects the results declared by INEC will have on our teeming members, we are also mindful of the consequences which the state may run into with protracted litigation. Consequently, though painful, for now PDP has decided not to file any petition before the election tribunal in the interest of the state."

Alluding to the murder of the Principle Private Secretary to Governor Oshiomhole, Mr Olaitan Oyerinde, he recalled that the governor led demonstrations accusing PDP and its leadership of being responsible for the incident as well as having a hand in the accident involving the governor's convoy.

He said on account of this, the state government renamed Delta Crescent, where Chief Anenih lives, as Olaitan Oyerinde Street.

Chief Orbih, in apparent reaction to recent arrest in Abuja of suspected killers of Oyerinde by State Security Service, SSS, said the truth in both cases has come out, adding "what has the governor got to say now?"

Meanwhile, tension has heightened in Edo State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the statement by the state Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, that the party had withdrawn its petition at the state governorship election petition tribunal.

Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, candidate of PDP in the election, who is already in court, is challenging results of the election, declaring Mr Adams Oshiomhole winner of the poll.

It was gathered that some party members, were against the court action, including former Minister of Defense, Gen. Godwin Abbe and the member representing Oredo Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr Bello Osagie, who said: "This petition, in my view, is a distraction, materially jaundiced and lacking in merit on all grounds. It is destined to come to nullity."

PDP state Director of Publicity, Mr Okharedia Ihimekpen, who spoke on the decision of the party not to head to court, said: "PDP may decide to withdraw but it does not mean the candidate has withdrawn the suit. As I speak with you, we are serving Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the state government with copies of the suit. So, Airhiavbere is still in court."

Vanguard learnt that the party leadership held a meeting at Orbih's residence, Sunday night, following alleged directive from former Chairman Board of Trustee of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, that the suit be withdrawn so that party members could strategise for future elections.

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