The nullification of the All Progressives Congress’ APC’s ticket in the Edo State governorship election on Wednesday came out of the blues. There were indeed remarkable issues that hit Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy.
It came at a time that members of the victorious Peoples Democratic Party, PDP both in Edo State and at the national level were beginning to have a sense of trepidation over what some claimed as the legal landmines that were being placed to upturn the party’s remarkable victory in the September 19, 2020 election.
On the other hand, those around Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC candidate were beginning to feel a sense of expectation that Godwin Obaseki’s certificate troubles would give the victory to the APC.
As some asked, if there is no trouble, why did the PDP and the governor go all the way to frustrate the trial? Others asked, why did he not simply present the certificate as demanded?
Those issues are, however, still to be decided by the court and despite the “photocopy malfunction,” the APC according to sources still remains hopeful.
Well, that was until Wednesday, January 6, 2021 when the PDP landed what looked like a TKO on the APC in the Benin High Court.
The case arose from what many had thought was a trifle, but they were legal issues that hit Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy.
But from the beginning, it was predicted to be a tough one for the APC.
The case was brought against the APC and its running mate, Abdul Ganiyu Abudu by Hon. Sunday Kadiri from Ogbona ward, in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.
Given the mention of Ogbona, it is easy for many to trace or guess the originator of the suit.
Ogbona ward is the stronghold of the powerful national vice-chairman, South-South of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih.
Orbih was chairman of the PDP in Edo State for about nine years and in that period gave a remarkable rebuff to the ascendancy of the APC during the Oshiomhole years.
For whatever reasons, Orbih may have scented an opportunity after the emergence of Abdul Gani as Ize-Iyamu’s running mate and moved Kadiri to front the judicial action.
At the heart of the contentions against Gani’s presence on the ticket was the claim by the plaintiff that he presented different names which in the view of some may have also been spelling errors in his credentials.
When news of the suit first emerged in August, it was alleged that in the documents presented to INEC, that while Gani Audu swore to an affidavit with his name as Audu Abudu Ganiyu, his other documents bore conflicting names.
It was alleged that while his name on the affidavit is Audu Abudu Ganiyu, in his voter’s card, his name is Audu Abdul Ganiyu.
Besides, it was also alleged that in his APC membership card, his name appeared as Gani Audu.
Also, the WASSCE/GCE certificate he submitted reflected Audu Ahudu Ganeyu.
It was based on the circumstances that the plaintiff alleged that he provided false information to INEC and hence his disqualification.
The decision by Justice Courage Ogbebor immediately translated to a loss for Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy was voided as he could not have contested without a running mate.
With his mind in Abuja focused on the certificate forgery case against Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu apparently did not envisage what happened.
He has, however, given an immediate order for the judgment to be appealed.
“This judgment, to say the least, is unfortunate and utterly wrong,” he said.
“I have already instructed my counsel to appeal against the judgment as I am convinced that the Court of Appeal will dispassionately consider the facts presented before the court and arrive at a just decision in accordance with the law.
“I urge all my teeming supporters to remain calm and law abiding. Justice will surely prevail in this matter,” Ize-Iyamu stated.