Against the backdrop of on-going litigation sought by Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the July 14 Edo Governorship poll who filed a petition at the Election Petitions Tribunal to challenge the victory of Governor Adams Oshiomole of ACN, a chieftain of the PDP and former Defence Minister, General Godwin Abbe wants his party to shun litigation and support growth process in the State.
Secretary of the tribunal, Mrs Josephine Aliyu, had revealed that Airhiavbere filed the petition on August 2, 2012 through Sunday Agwinede and four other counsels.
The first and second petitioners, Airhiavbere and PDP, are challenging Oshiomhole, and five others – Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), INEC, Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the State Governorship Returning Officer.
The petitioners claimed that the ‘purported election’ was invalid due to corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended), alleging intimidation, harassment of voters, depriving them from exercising their franchise and constitutional rights in 11 local government areas of the state.
The petitioners further claimed that there was no link between Oshiomhole and the academic qualification he presented, adding that INEC invalidly returned Oshiomhole as duly elected in spite of the fact that the election was not concluded in compliance with the provisions of Electoral Act 2012.
The petitioners said that the Edo Election returning officer wrongfully proceeded to declare Oshiomhole winner of the election by issuing him Form EC8E on July 15, saying that the Edo REC subsequently and wrongfully issued Oshiomhole a certificate of return on behalf of INEC.
Meanwhile, in what could be termed a split within the PDP, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Minister of Defence, General Godwin Abbe, has asked the PDP in Edo State to begin to support Governor Adams Oshiomhole in continuation of his efforts to develop Edo State instead of going ahead to challenge his victory.
Abbe, who described the plan by the PDP to challenge the outcome of the election in court as uncalled for and unpopular, advised his party’s flag-bearer in the election, Major General Charles Airhiavbere, to accept defeat and work with the Governor to make the State a better place.
The ex-Minister also labelled the election as one of the freest and fairest since democracy began in 1999 and therefore called on members of his party, PDP to unite with the current government for the sake of the people.
“I just want to advise that my brother Charles Airhiavbere should join hands with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to build our state, while I also advise him to start working towards 2016.”