Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said he will not challenge the outcome of the Edo State governorship election.
Recall that Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had defeated Ize-Iyamu in the September 19, 2020, Edo governorship election.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, Ize-Iyamu said the election was “neither free nor fair.”
According to him, the election was dominated by alleged voter intimidation, falsification of results, unlawful cancellations of results in some local government areas.
Ize-Iyamu stated that while many malpractices could easily form the basis to challenge the election results, his campaign has decided not to commence an election petition in order to avoid “further tension”.
The statement reads: “My dear people of Edo State. I send you warm felicitations as always. You will all recall that the election process to determine who occupies the office of Governor of Edo State for the next 4 years began officially in June this year, with the unveiling of the Election Timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” Ize-Iyamu said.
“To the glory of God Almighty, the election held on 19th September 2020 with the outcome later announced by INEC. We thank God Almighty for the relatively peaceful nature of the voting process in most parts of the state.
“Contrary to orchestrated media reports, the election was neither free nor fair. There were several episodes of violence, voter intimidation and falsification of results. In particular, there were unlawful cancellations of results particularly from Urhonigbe South and North in Orhiomwon, while results were falsified from many polling units in Ofunama in Ovia South West, and in parts of Ovia North East, Owan West, Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan North East, Esan West, Esan South East, and Uhunmwode Local Government Areas.
“Sadly, two persons were killed during the election, while gun-wielding thugs took over collation centres in many locations without the intervention of law-enforcement agents. There were also several cases of malfunctioning card readers, which disenfranchised duly registered voters, in addition to many cases of unregistered voters voting with pre-purchased voters’ cards not collected by their actual owners.
“These malpractices could easily form the basis to challenge the election results. We have however decided not to commence an election petition. This is to avoid further tension in the state. We are also mindful that the leadership of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and many well-placed individuals have made pronouncements endorsing the process, which we have chosen to respect.”
“Nonetheless, we must emphasize that elections are far more than actual voting, just as democracy includes more than just elections. It is in this light that we draw attention to the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its flagbearers have continued to pursue several pre-election suits in various courts against us, all totalling 13. One of such cases came up in the High Court, Benin on 2nd October, 2020, days after the election,” the APC candidate said.
“On our part, we had filed two pre-election cases against the PDP and its flagbearer challenging their eligibility to contest the election. These are all lawful and integral parts of the electoral process in any democracy, which we must all respect and acknowledge as genuine democrats.
“The outcome of these pending cases have direct effect on the election. Consequently, we have decided to continue with our pre-election cases in full exercise of our legal rights, just as our opponents have considered it their prerogative to also continue with their pre-election cases against us.”
Ize-Iyamu thanked Buhari for his statesmanship and support throughout the election campaign.
He also thanked the National leadership of the APC led by HE Mai Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe State, the National Campaign Council led by HE Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State, APC Governors, leaders and members of the National Assembly.