The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will obey an order by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, which restrained Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki from participating in the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The court order was given on Tuesday, June 23, forty-eight (48) hours before the PDP primary election scheduled for Thursday, June 25. INEC’s spokesman, Festus Okoye confirmed to Leadership newspaper that the electoral commission in line with its policy on respecting court orders has resolved to respect the order by Hon. Justice E.A. Obile.
Governor Obaseki is now walking a tight rope in his quest to clinch the PDP ticket. Photo credit: Edo state govt Source: UGC
The electoral body also warned political parties that it will respect every litigation emanating from primary elections while stressing that such litigation can harm the smooth conduct of the governorship election. A PDP governorship aspirant, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, had filed the suit, insisting that Obaseki did not purchase PDP form or undergo screening within the time-table schedule. The ruling comes 24 hours after a frontline aspirant of the PDP in Edo state, Mr Gideon Ikhine, stepped down for Governor Obaseki.
Ikhine, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), announced his decision on Monday, June 22 at his campaign secretariat in the state capital, Benin. Governor Obaseki, the PDP state party chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi and other party leaders from across the state were in attendance at the briefing. Ikhine said Governor Obaseki’s defection to the party was God’s great answer to the party and his aspiration.
Governor Obaseki seems to have been coasting to victory in the PDP primary before the court’s ruling earlier today. To make matters worse for the governor, his Rivers state counterpart, Nyesom Wike, has disengaged himself from a reconciliation meeting organised by the PDP in Edo ahead of the gubernatorial election.
The aggrieved governor on Tuesday, June 23, alleged that there are some persons in the PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC) who are bent on bringing his name to disrepute. Wike warned the NWC to guard against taking any step that will bring about the disintegration of the party. Like Obaseki, Like Ambode: 3 Governors who fell out with their political godfather.