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Edo Governorship Primaries: Why We Disqualified Obaseki-APC

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The political drama in Edo State has taken a new dimension, as Governor Godwin Obaseki and Adams Oshiomole continue to slug it out for the heart of the state.

The latest development in the state is that the All Progressives Congress (APC), has disqualified Governor Obaseki from contesting the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

On Friday, June 12, the party announced the disqualification of Governor Godwin and two other aspirants from contesting the primaries of the party slatted for June 22.

Announcing the disqualification at the party headquarters in Abuja, the chairman of the screening committee, Professor Jonathan Ayuba, said only three aspirants were qualified to contest for the primary.

According to the screening committee, Obaseki presented the Higher School Certificate which the panel said was defective as no such certificate in existence, adding that the National Youth Service Corps certificate he presented did not have his name written properly.

Prior to now, there had been clamour for the disqualification of Obaseki to prevent a repeat of a situation that happened in Bayelsa State where the party’s candidate David Lyon won the election but subsequently lost after a Supreme Court judgment.

Then, a five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, had overruled the declaration of Lyon along with his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, as the winner of the governorship election.

In a petition to the Chairman of the Screening Committee for Edo State Gubernatorial Election, some concerned members of APC in the state, Mr. Edobor Williams, Ugbesia Godwin and Amedu Anakhu, warned that the party would be risking another Bayelsa scenario if Obaseki is not disqualified.

In the petition, they said their action was borne out of their passion for APC’s success in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

Dated June 8, 2020, and entitled: ‘Petition For The Disqualification of Godwin Obaseki from Participating in the Gubernatorial Primary Election For Edo State, signed on their behalf by their lawyer, Mr. Chisimdi Chima, the petitioners said their findings after a thorough checks on the governor’s background revealed that in 2016, he submitted a false affidavit to INEC to aid his qualification for the then governorship election.

According to them, PDP, which had suspected foul play over the documents submitted to INEC, had approached an Abuja High Court for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the affidavit of loss of document Obaseki had presented in his form CF 001 to INEC in 2016.

The petitioners said in response to PDP’s request, the Abuja High Court denied issuing any affidavit to the governor.

Based on the above, the petitioners stated that the letter of the court to PDP dated September 28, 2016, “clearly established the element of false affidavit on the part of Godwin Obaseki, which makes him disqualified.”
The petitioners added: “Any political party that fields such a disqualified candidate would be fined under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act.”

The trio said they wanted Obaseki investigated for allegedly falsifying a public document and submitting same to INEC for official use following the governor’s interest in participating in the forthcoming governorship election.
They also called for Obaseki to be investigated over his alleged academic qualifications, which he submitted to INEC in 2016.
They said: “The problem with Obaseki educational history is that it appears fraudulent as no explanation has been reasonably offered why a four-year academic progamme was completed in three years against the established course requirement for the completion of a degree programme in Classical Studies.”

According to them, the governor claimed that he obtained a degree in Classical Studies from the University of Ibadan in three years after gaining admission from Eghosa Grammar School with only three credit pass in his Ordinary Level certificate.

“It is indeed very questionable when one imagines how Mr. Obaseki secured the admission into University of Ibadan with just three credit pass in his ordinary level certificate at a time when the educational system was purely on merit,” they stated.

They therefore prayed the screening committee to disqualify Obaseki for alleged falsehood.

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