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Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

Edo APC leaders stole my mandate, witness tells court

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By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin

A witness on Tuesday told Edo Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal how his name was unlawfully substituted as the Councillorship Candidate of Ugu Ward 9 in Orhionmwon LG Area in March 3, 2018 Council polls.
At resumed hearing on the case yesterday, the petitioner, Mr. Aruoma Robinson of All progressive party, tendered a compact disk (CD) containing the conversations between him and Mr. Chris Azebamwen and the state Secretary of the party, Mr Lawrence Okah to prove his petition before the court.
The petitioner had approached the Tribunal, challenging Omorogbe Osaro of same party and four other on unlawful substitute as a consensus candidate of Ugu Ward 9 in Orhionmwon LG Area in March 3, 2018 Council polls.
Among other exhibits tendered was a certificate of electronically generated evidence pursuant to section 34 of the Evidence Act.
Robinson, during cross examination by his Counsel Mr Dele Igbenedion, told the court that he decided to record the conversation when it became obvious they were denying him of his nomination, as they were assuring him of another position.
Robinson alleged that he also translate their conversation which was in Edo language to English Language.
However, Mr. Charity Aiguobarueghian, the counsel to the 1st APC, 2nd party Chairman and 3rd Respondents Mr. Omorogbe Osaro and Mr Samson Erhaze, the Counsel to Edo Independent Electoral Commission EDSIEC reserved their opposition to a date yet to be announced.
Mr. Aruoma also told the tribunal that the 3rd Respondent Mr Omorogbe Osaro was not among the three aspirants for the primary, but admitted that he did not win in his unit during the governorship election which was one of APC guidelines that qualify any eligible member if his party to contest the Councils election.
He said the guideline criteria generated tension as many APC members did not win in their units.
He further noted that the primary polls was organised at the ward level and he emerged as the consensus candidate out of three aspirants who vied for the seat.
The Respondent witness, Fidelis Okunzuwa a chairmanship aspirant in ward 9, admitted before the court that he was disqualified at the headquarters in Urhue on Jan 24 because he did not win in his unit during gubernatorial election.
Okunzuwa said the ward party leaders and executives disqualified him including the petitioner, Robinson and others pursuant to the guideline signed on Jan 16 by Chris Azebamwen the state publicity secretary.
He however said the disqualifications was not reduce to writing, clarifying however that the Secretary has the custody to register party members.
He also confirmed the press statement signed by Chris Azebamwen the publicity secretary on Jan 19 that set side his previous guideline of Jan 16, and stated the APC ward 9 leaders and executives said that statement did not supersede the guideline hence they were disqualified.
“Our ward leaders told us that the press statement should not be taken seriously”, he said
He said that his APC party card was signed by the chairman and the Secretary of his ward as well as the state party chairman and secretary
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mrs Uroh Erameh however adjoined the continuation of hearing to Friday May 25.

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