2 days to election, court sacks Edo APC candidate

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Barely three days to Saturday’s House of Assembly election, a Federal High Court in Benin, yesterday, disqualified Mr. Osaro Obazee, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Oredo East Constituency.

In place of Obazee, Justice Damilola Ajayi ruled that Mr. Ekhosuehi Aiguobahi is the rightful candidate of the APC for the election.

Obazee, a former chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, had initially signified his intention to run for the Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, but was compelled by the party’s leadership to step down for the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Mr. Osaigbovo Iyoha, and go for the House of Assembly, instead.

The trial judge ruled that Ekhosuehi won last year’s primary of the party and, therefore, remains the rightful candidate for Saturday’s election.

Disturbed by the judgment, Obazee told newsmen, yesterday, in Benin, that he has put machinery in place to appeal the decision. He insisted that he still remains the party’s candidate for the election.

While appealing to his supporters to remain calm, the embattled former council boss said: “My supporters should come out en masse to vote for me on Saturday. I’ve the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) form, which was given to me as the candidate who won the primary. They should remain calm.”

Meanwhile, the Edo State spokesman of the party, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, maintained that Obazee remains the party’s candidate for the constituency.

Azebamwan, who spoke with newsmen at the APC state secretariat, said the party has opted for a legal option to ensure Obazee flies its flag on Saturday.

He said: “We, hereby, re-affirm Obazee as the candidate of the APC in Oredo East Constituency, and, hereby, reassure our supporters to keep faith and remain steadfast. 

“The leadership of our party will do everything necessary, and explore all legal options to ensure the mandate which we collectively gave Obazee to fly our flag in the election on Saturday  remains inviolate.” 

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