The Edo Election Petition Tribunal may have gone on recess to resume after the christmas break but the war of words between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State is yet to abate.
The spokesperson of the PDP in Edo, Chris Nehikhare, has alleged that the APC had plans to sabotage the court process of verification of ballot papers used in the September 28, governorship election in Edo State.
He told Channels Television in Benin City, the state’s capital, that the APC wanted to destroy the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) along with the ballot papers.
“In a place where APC scored 450 votes, when you get to the ballot box you discover about 200 ballot papers. It was this discovery that made the APC threaten to destroy the INEC office,” he claimed.
In his reaction, the chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua, said the PDP had no grounds for such claims.
“This same allegations were made in the Tribunal and was thrown out. Now, they want to achieve what they couldn’t achieve in court with the police,” he told Channels Television.
The Edo Election Petition Tribunal has granted an ‘ex-parte motion’ filed by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal granted the motion on Wednesday in Benin City, the Edo State capital for the use of substitute service for respondents, Mr Godwin Obaseki and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Counsel to the petitioner, Kingsley Obamogie, said the order was necessary to fast track proceedings, claiming that the APC was trying to frustrate the entire court process.
The APC Publicity Secretary in Edo State, Godwin Erahon, however, denied any wrongdoing by his party.
The court motion follows the victory of Mr Obaseki in the September 29 Edo State governorship election in south-south Nigeria.
But on the day of the election, the PDP had claimed there was a plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and incumbent Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to rig the election at the collation centre.
In a swift response, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, told Channels Television in Kaduna that the election was not flawed with irregularities as alleged.
He debunked claims by the PDP that the commission deliberately delayed result of the election from the 18 local government councils in Edo State in order to favour the ruling APC in the state.
After INEC had declared Obaseki as the Edo State Governor-elect, the PDP and its candidate proceeded to the tribunal to challenge the results of the poll.