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Edo: stalemate in Esan North East

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We were robed – PDP

PHARMACIST Matthew Urhoghide is the Edo State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this brief telephone interview, he spoke on his party’s position on the recent Edo State Local Government Tribunal judgment which ordered a re-run in the Esan North – East local government election, insisting that the PDP candidate should have been declared out right winner of the election


What is your take on the tribunal’s judgment which ordered a re-run election of the Esan North East local government election?
The judgment that was delivered by the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal following the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State was accepted by us with some mixed feelings. That was not the type of judgment that we expected because the people of Esan North –East local government came out in their numbers to vote and give their mandate to the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Mr. John Yakubu for his brilliant past performances.

However, the All Progressive Congress (APC) using the instrumentality of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) and its chairman, Mr. Solomon Ogor who should defend the outcome of the election awarded victory to the APC candidate, Mr. Sam Oboh. It was after this robbery that we headed to the tribunal not minding that it was the APC government that established the tribunal.

We thought that the tribunal will give judgment in our favour but Edo people who heard the judgment were disappointed. Firstly, Sam Oboh in his heart of hearts knows that he did not win the local government election. The figures declared by EDSIEC were written and announced in Benin by the APC for EDSIEC to declare because they were still collating results of the votes cast in the election in Uromi when EDSIEC announced the results in Benin.

All the people that were with EDSIEC including the returning Officer abandoned their duty posts and the collating process at Uromi and unfortunately, they left behind each of the Returning Officers in the Wards.
It was these Returning Officers for the eleven Wards that went ahead to collates the votes, issued the results and certificate of Returns to the Councillors that were declared winners of the elections in the Wards.

This was observed by the people, security agents. The collated results also show that the PDP candidate, John Yakubu won, but the APC and EDSIEC gave it to Sam Oboh. The tribunal gave the APC and EDSIEC soft landing against the overwhelming evidence that John Yakubu won the election. It is an injustice because Yakubu ought to have been declared the winner.

Those who are praising Governor Adams Oshiomhole for not interfering with the workings of the tribunal are just playing to the gallery, that is a figment of their imagination and that is not a good way to play to the gallery.

Will you participate in any future election in the local government after all due judicial process has been followed?
We are going to appeal against the judgment even if the APC said that it would. We are going for the election and EDSIEC is not credible enough to conduct a free and fair election; it should be supervised on how to conduct a free and fair election.

We call on market women, students, artisans and others to come for the election and come rain or sun, John Yakubu will win the election. The tribunal judgment has shown that EDSIEC under its present leadership allowed itself to be used and that has indicated that it is not credible enough to conduct any election in the state.

PDP is crying wolf – APC

COMRADE Godwin Erhahon is the interim State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Edo State. In this brief interview on the tribunal judgment on the outcome of the chairmanship election in Esan North- East local government area, saying that the judgment has demonstrated that the government do not interfere with EDSIEC

What is the position of your party on the Edo State Election petitions Tribunal on the chairmanship election in Esan North – East which declared a re-run of the election?
First, as a law abiding party, as a promoter of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, we take the judgment as it is.
But thank God that we have the right to appeal, so we are appealing against the judgment.

But we want to assure everybody that whatever comes out from the appeal, the final judgment, we shall obey because we believe in the rule of law.
However, what we want our people to realize is that this is a lesson for the PDP, that a tribunal set up by an APC government was able to rule against our party.

This is a clear manifestation that our government does not interfere with the duties of the judiciary; this shows how law abiding we are, we accept it as it is and we promise that we shall appeal and at the end what the judgment is we shall abide.

In other words you are appealing because you are not satisfied with the judgment..
Yes, because we have doubt about the propriety of the judgment, but at the end of the day, we shall abide whatever the court decides.

The only ground of the tribunal judgment was that the results of the election ought to have been announced at Uromi and not Benin. What is your take on this?
Those are areas that our team of legal practitioners will address at the proper time.
Whatever that is decided, we shall abide and now that we said that we are going on appeal, we don’t want to make any comment that will be pre-judicial to the appeal that we are going top make.

What is your perception of that election generally?
As for the election, generally we believe that EDSIEC has credibility and whatever they announced; we trusted and relied upon it.
So, for now we have no cause to doubt the integrity of EDSIEC until we get to the Appeal Court.


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