Amidst controversies trailing the recent Supreme Court judgment nullifying the candidature of Uche Nwosu, as Action Alliance, AA flag bearer in the March 9, 2019 Imo State governorship election and its implication for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 governorship poll in Edo State, the party on Friday chided those drawing parallel between the case and that of its candidate. Obaseki’s opponents in the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state had been celebrating the June 26 judgment which in their interpretation had disqualified the governor from participating in the election having sought nomination on the platform of two political parties.
A former publicity secretary of the APC in the state, Godwin Erhahon had on Tuesday in a press statement, warned Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu to be wary of Nwosu’s fate arising from the apex court’s verdict. He said Obaseki was surrounded by swindlers who were urging him and his deputy to continue to pursue their gubernatorial ambition on the “wonky, expired and empty platform of the PDP.”
Erhahon asserted that the Supreme Court judgment in the case involving Nwosu of AA party who participated in the party primary election of two different political parties in Imo State ought to have made Obaseki have a rethink because of the illegality of the action. He said “The apex court crafted the judgment so explicitly as if it was meant for the duo of the governor and his deputy to understand what fate awaits them in the state” stressing that “The Supreme Court nullified Uche Nwosu’s nomination in AA on the account that he had contested for nomination under APC”.
According to the former state chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, “As if to explain itself further to the outgoing Governor, the Supreme Court elaborated on how the relevant law nullifies the PDP candidacy for their understanding when it elaborated thus :
“The spirit of the law forbids anyone to contest for nomination under two or more parties in same election or even start the process of being nominated by procuring the nomination form”. Wondering how Obaseki hoped to escape the last clause, Erhahon asserted that, “The clause has rendered the expired PDP governorship ticket a counterfeit. Obaseki procured APC nomination form, filled and returned same; and to crown it up, attended APC screening which he failed. By the clause under reference, the Supreme Court seems to have told Obaseki to stop wasting his time and resources.
“So also does it sound a warning to Obaseki’s supporters that they are about burying themselves along with a dead body because they are blinded by temporary pecuniary sentiment. Whoever is being deceived by his neighbour may survive; but whoever deceives himself is on a suicide mission. Let’s watch and see where desperation, cantankerousness and sadism are leading Governor Obaseki to. Like the Benin elders would say ‘hasty wrestling and fatal fall go together”.
But countering Erhahon’s argument, the state publicity secretary of the PDP, Chris Osa Nehikare, said in a statement in Benin that those making the claims to muddle the waters were being smart by half “and are at best ignorant of the law and the circumstances surrounding the governor’s emergence as the candidate of the PDP”.
Nehikhare said “We want to put it on record that the governor contested for the primary election of only the PDP. He was unjustly disqualified from the APC primary and wasn’t even on the ballot during the poll. While on the converse, Uche Nwosu in Imo State was the factional candidate of the APC after the primary election. He was returned elected and only ran to Action Alliance after he was edged out of the contest. The Supreme Court, in fact, ruled that he had a valid ticket with the APC, which invalidated his candidacy in AA.
“Hence, whoever draws a parallel between these two cases is either incapable of rational thoughts or is outrightly out to deceive his paymasters, who apparently do not know better”. The PDP called on members of the public to disregard “the resort to such lazy and defective thinking” insisting that “Governor Obaseki is going to the polls with an unblemished ticket as against the candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who has a multiplicity of legal booby traps planted by his party at the state and national levels”.