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Edo PDP In Shocking Withdrawal Of Governorship Election Petition

In a most unanticipated twist to its seesaw reaction to its loss in last month’s Edo State governorship election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has withdrawn its petition at the Governorship Election Tribunal, just three days after the suit was instituted. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, the party’s candidate in the election, had filed a petition at the tribunal last Thursday, challenging the victory of Governor Adams Oshiomole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). 

 And it was thought that he had the backing of the party hierarchy, which claimed that the election of 14th July 2012 was fraught with fraud, irregularities, rigging and manipulations, and the only way to deepen democracy and the rule of law in the overall interest of the people of the state was to contest the results at the tribunal. “The returning officer … wrongly proceeded to declare Adams Oshiomhole winner of the election by issuing form EC8E on the 15th day of July, 2012. 

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (Edo State) also subsequently and wrongfully issued Adams Oshiomhole with the certificate of return on behalf of the Independent National Commission (INEC),” the party had said, among others, in a statement signed by its director of publicity, Okharedia Ihimekpen. “Adams Oshiomhole, who was purportedly returned as the winner of the said election, was not qualified to contest for the said election for the office of the Governor Edo State. 

Furthermore, despite the non-revision and non-amendment of the voters register, amended and criminally altered voters’ register were used in various wards and polling units in the three senatorial districts.” However, newsmen can authoritatively report that the suit has been withdrawn, after the Presidency kicked against both the petition and the accusation that Oshiomhole tendered fake modern school certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 Well-informed sources have disclosed to newsmen, the Chief Anenih connection to both the institution of the suit and its withdrawal. “Chief Tony Anenih foisted General Charles Airhiavbere on the party. Having lost the battle, he is naturally spearheading the election petition in a desperate bid to redeem his image,” a source said, speaking anonymously. “But party forces who believe that Anenih is a spent force are opposed to the petition. 

And now that they have succeeded in securing the withdrawal of the suit, this is unofficially the beginning of the end for Anenih, starting from the comprehensive loss to ACN in the election.” Announcing the withdrawal of the petition at a press briefing on Monday — just one day after the party explained its reasons for filing it — state chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, said that party had analysed the results and was aware of the divergent views, public expressions and legal options. 

 “However, PDP has fully consulted the leadership of the party at both within and outside the state,” he said, reading out a statement titled, ‘Edo State Governorship Election 2012: Let God the Judge.’ “During these consultations, legal opinions were sought and it is the conclusion of the party that while we appreciate the effects of the results declared by INEC will have on our teeming members, we are also mindful of the consequences which the state may run into with protracted litigation.” 

 Consequently, he announced that the party had taken the “painful” decision not to file any petition before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal “for now, in the interest of the state.” However, this might be nothing close to the end of the public expression of implosion within the ranks and the hierarchy of PDP in the state, as Airhiavbere has already promised to address a press conference “when he comes out.

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