Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Alex Enumah in Abuja
AThe Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for Edo Governorship Election and Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has said the council will scuttle alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use security agencies to rig the September 19 governorship poll in Edo State.
But in a swift reaction, the Chairman of Edo State Media Campaign Council of APC governorship election, Mr. John Mayaki, said Wike was talking more than he was campaigning.
He described as “inane, puerile and negligible” the claims by Rivers State governor that APC plans to postpone and rig the election.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, yesterday adjourned till August 24, hearing in a suit seeking the disqualification of the APC governorship candidate in Edo State, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his running mate, Mr. Audu Ganiyu, from the forthcoming election.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said the APC was confident about winning because it wanted to rig.
He stated that the PDP has gathered enough intelligence report about the alleged plan and would scuttle it at the appropriate time.
Wike added that Obaseki cannot be described as an ingrate because he has proven to be a man of character.
He said: “Governor Godwin Obaseki is not an ingrate like Adams Oshiomhole and Osagie Ize-Iyamu who can do anything, including betraying people to grab power.
“Obaseki is morally qualified and stands out as the best candidate for the September 19, 2020 election.
“Edo people cannot support and desire the handover of power to the APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is a nomadic politician and ingrate who lacks character.
“It is Oshiomhole who is an ingrate because he told us that Obaseki served as the brain box of his administration that lasted eight years. How can such a person become an ingrate?
“Look at Ize-Iyamu, he is an ingrate too. He served as Secretary to the State Government in Chief Lucky Igbinedion’s administration. When he didn’t get what he wanted, he dumped the party and moved to another party.
“In 2015, people supported him for the governorship, when he failed, he did not consult them but abandoned them for another party.
“That is the life of a nomadic politician. Like his master, they are dangerously desperate, insatiable and can do anything for power.”
Wike stated that Obaseki is not a violent man like Ize-Iyamu who allegedly instructed thugs he called “lions and tigers” to cause crisis.
He challenged the police and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the Edo election to correct previous mistakes by conducting free and fair polls.
“We consider the comment by INEC to cancel or suspend the election because of violence as succumbing to the antics of the APC.
“All they want is violence because they cannot win the election. If the election is suspended, the implication is that Obaseki will serve out his tenure without an election in November,” he said.
Mayaki, however, faulted Wike, describing his allegations as “inane, puerile and negligible.”
Mayaki said Wike, like Obaseki, should focus on the claims against him of an alleged violation of human rights.
In a statement, Mayaki said: “I do not know if Wike manufactures these tales himself or if he has a team of lazy children’s books’ writers who manufacture these claims. I am torn between answering him seriously and stepping down to match his humour.
“To start with, let him provide proof for anything he said. He cannot. How does the party that is not in power plan to oust the police in Edo State? He meant to accuse us but ended up insulting the Nigeria Police Force. I think they need to address the disrespectful and sickening way he spoke about them. This is not the first time that the governor has demonstrated a pedestrian restrain in his words.
“The inane speculation cannot hold water, as we stand to gain no further advantage should Mr. Obaseki leave office.”
Court Fixes Date for Suit Seeking Ize-Iyamu’s Disqualification
The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, yesterday adjourned till August 24, hearing in a suit seeking the disqualification of Ize-Iyamu and Ganiyu from the September 19 poll.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo adjourned the case after granting an application for substituted service of the court processes on the third and fourth defendants, Ganiyu and Ize-Iyamu, respectively.
Two APC chieftains, Hon. Momoh Abdul-Razak and Hon. Zibiri Muhizu, had sued the APC’s candidate and his running mate for alleged perjury.
Defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/758/2020 are APC, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Audu Ganiyu and Osagie Ize-Iyamu as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to disqualify Ganiyu from participating in the forthcoming election on account of giving false information to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship poll.
Ganiyu, in the suit filed on July 10, by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mr. Friday Nwosu, was also accused of certificate forgery.
They further prayed the court to annul the nomination of Ize-Iyamu as APC’s governorship candidate on account of running with an allegedly unqualified deputy.
In addition, they prayed the court for another order restraining the APC from contesting the September 19 governorship poll upon the disqualification of the third and fourth defendants.
In a 41-paragraph affidavit deposed to in support of the suit, the plaintiffs averred that Ganiyu contravened provisions of the electoral laws by providing false information and lying on oath in his form CF 001 he submitted to INEC in support of his qualification for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
According to the deponent, Abdul-Razak, “There are several irrevocable different and false information given by the third defendant about himself, which cannot be true in his 2020 INEC form EC-9.
“That I know as a fact that both the alleged name Audu Abudu Ganiyu in his 2020 form EC-9, Audu Abudu Ganiyu in the WAEC (GCE) of December 1983, Audu Gani on the APC card No: 0054243, are not the name of the third defendant as fully and definitely confirmed by the statutory declaration of age (exhibit 6A) that accompanied the third defendant’s 2019 form CF 001 personally deposed to by the third defendant at the Registry of the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Yaba Lagos State on 24/5/1996.”
Abdul-Razak averred that the deputy governorship candidate, who is a serving member of the Edo State House of Assembly representing Etsako West Constituency, submitted a different name to INEC in 2020 from what he submitted in his 2015 and 2019 CF 001 forms.
He said the third defendant had no time in the various certificates paraded by him, attached any change of name to prove the names belong to him.
The plaintiffs accused the deputy governorship candidate of superimposing the letter ‘A” on the testimonial issued by a state authority or institution to read from originally Audu Ganiyu to Audu “A” Ganiyu, which he presented same to INEC in aid of his qualification for the election.
When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to the plaintiffs informed the court that while both the first and second defendants have been served with the processes, the third and fourth have not been served and as such he has brought an application for substituted service.
Counsel to the first defendant, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, acknowledged service while there was no appearance for INEC.
In a short ruling, Justice Taiwo granted the application as prayed and ordered that the court processes, including the hearing notice, be pasted on the Benin City residences of the third and fourth defendants.
He subsequently adjourned till August 24 for hearing in the substantive suit.