By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City
The Edo State governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday commenced sitting on petitions filed by political parties contending the outcome of the Saturday 19 governorship election, that brought in governor Godwin Obaseki for a second term in office.
Obaseki, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having secured the highest number of votes cast.
The political parties seeking to nullify the victory of Godwin Obaseki include, Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
At the inaugural sitting in Benin City, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abdulrazaq Abdulkareem said they are committed to completing the five petitions before the tribunal within the stipulated time frame.
While soliciting co-operation from all parties and counsel, he assured that the tribunal would perform its duties without prejudice for any party.
“We wish to assure you that in our quest to get to the truth of the matters before us; we shall act in good faith, and shall do our work with open mind, without any form of bias or appearance of any preconception. We also pledge not to lend ourselves to any form of external influence” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the counsel, Ken Mozia (SAN) assured the tribunal of counsel’s cooperation, and promised they would do their best to file their applications within the specified time frame.
During the sitting, the petitioners sought for an ex parte motion for substituted means of service against their respective respondents.
Following the petitioners’ applicant motion, the presiding justice granted their orders, and adjourned to Monday, December 7, for pre-hearing process.