By Tony Ehighiale, Benin City
The Governorship election petition tribunal in Edo State has granted the request of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Nze-Iyamu for ballot recount.
Nze-Iyamu had filed a petition against the outcome of the September 28 Governorship election that produced Governor Godwin Obaseki as the winner.
With the ruling, ballots are set to be recounted in Estako East, Estako West, Akoko-Edo and Egor local government areas of the state.
An Administrative Officer of the Independent National Election Officer, Mr. Ahmed Salman, had on subpoena produced bags of ‘Ghana must go’ in court containing used ballot papers for four local government areas in the state.
In his ruling, Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, said the petitioners made it clear in the petition that they would order for the production of the ballot papers to be counted in open court.
Justice Badamasi said the second respondent (Godwin Obaseki) did not oppose the recounting of the ballot papers.
He held that suggestion of of tampering of the ballot papers required proof and that the position of the third respondents (APC) was not tenable in law.
Justice Badamasi ruled that stopping the petitioners’ application would mean shutting them out.
However, after the ruling, lead Counsel to the petitioners, Yusuf Alli, suggested that the ballot papers should be counted in another room in the presence of representatives of all parties since the petitioners would close their case Friday.
Counsel to the respondents kicked against the suggestion and insisted that the counting must be done in the open court.
As at press time, preparations were being made for the recounting of the ballot papers.