Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, will not challenge his defeat at the election petition tribunal.
Ize-Iyamu disclosed in a press statement issued on Monday and made available to journalists by John Mayaki, media head of his campaign council.
He, however, noted that two pre-election court cases instituted against the PDP will continue.
Addressing journalists on Sunday after a thankgiving service at Soul Winners Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Benin, Ize-Iyamu had said he may not challenge the victory of Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “I am not keen on going to tribunal,” he had said.
Citing violence, intimidation of voters, unlawful cancellation of results, malfunctioning of card readers, among others, according to the statement issued on Monday, Ize-Iyamu said though he had enough grounds to challenge the election outcome, he has decided otherwise in order to avoid creating further tension in 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,” he was quoted as saying.
“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 emphasise 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.
“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.”