Edo tribunal: Obaseki, others, know fate January

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Governor Godwin Obaseki; Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are respondents in the petitions.

The tribunal is sitting on the petitions following the December 11 dismissal of a petition by the Action Alliance (AA) and its governorship candidate, Ukonga Onaivi, against Obaseki, PDP and INEC, for failing to file pre-hearing notice.

The four other petitions were filed by Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its candidate Iboi Emmanuel; Action Peoples Party (APP), without joining its candidate, Amos Areloegbe; Allied Peoples Movement (APM), excluding its candidate, Igbineweka Osamuede; and Tracy Agol, without her party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

APP and Agol’s petitions would be heard on January 11, APM (January 12) and ADP (January 13).

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered accelerated hearing at the Federal High Court, Abuja, of the suit seeking to sack Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State for alleged certificate forgery.

A three-man panel of the Appeal Court, presided over by Justice Stephen Adah, rejected an application for stay of proceedings filed by Obaseki.

Justice Adag held that the constitutional provision which stipulates 180 days for the hearing of pre-election cases did not permit granting of a stay of proceedings in such matter.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and a party member Williams Edobor are seeking Obaseki’s disqualification.

They alleged that Obaseki forged his Bachelor of Arts Degree certificate which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the last governorship election in Edo State.

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Justice Ahmed Mohammed (before whom the case is pending at the Federal High Court) elected, in a ruling on Tuesday, to adjourn proceedings indefinitely pending the Court of Appeal’s decision on Obaseki’s application for stay of proceedings pending the hearing of an appeal he filed against an earlier ruling of the trial court.

At the hearing of the application at the Court of Appeal yesterday, the appellate court disagreed with the position of Justice Mohammed, saying Section 258 of the Constitution does allow for a stay of proceedings in a pre-election or election matter.

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