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Edo election tribunal to issue pre-hearing report on Thursday

The Edo Election Petition Tribunal says it will issue on Thursday a pre-hearing report on the trial in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The party and Ize-Iyamu, in their main petition, are challenging the declaration by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) of Mr Godwin Obaseki of All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner in the September 28 governorship election in the state.

The petitioners have named the INEC, Obaseki and the APC as first, second and third respondents respectively in the petition.

INEC had declared Obaseki winner of the Edo governorship election after he pulled more than 319,483 votes to defeat Ize-Iyamu, his closest rival, who scored a total of over 250,000 votes.

At the commencement of the pre-trial on Monday, the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led three- member tribunal adjourned the case to Thursday for the parties to hear all pre-trial motions.

The tribunal will thereafter issue a comprehensive pre-hearing report on the way and manner the trial should take.

The tribunal further ruled that the petitioners, on the same Thursday, would take their motion on notice on its order on variation of inspection of the election materials.

The petitioners’ counsel, Mr Emmanuel Okala, SAN, had earlier sought the permission of the court to withdraw one of the two motions on variation of the court’s order for inspection of election materials.

While striking out one of the petitioners’ motion as requested, the tribunal directed Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, counsel to APC, to file his reply to the petitioner’s motion on notice on variation on or before Wednesday.

Earlier, both Okala and Fagbemi, who had unanimously formulated and agreed on issues that should form the fulcrum for the tribunal’s determination, adopted their motions before the tribunal.

Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu and Mr Adetunji Oyedepo, both SAN, and lawyers to INEC and Obaseki respectively, also confirmed to the tribunal their acquiesces to the agreement reached and read out before the tribunal by Okala and Fagbemi.

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