Charles Airhiavbere, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last Edo State governorship election may have chosen to ignore his party and continue the challenge of his loss in court.
Mr. Airhiavbere lost to the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and incumbent, Adams Oshiomhole, in the July 14 election. He filed a petition against Mr. Oshiomhole’s victory alleging irregularities in the election.
The PDP in a statement by its Edo State Chapter Chairman, Dan Orbih, on Monday said it would not challenge Mr. Oshiomhole’s victory in court.
“PDP has decided not to file any petition before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the interest of the state,” Mr. Orbih said.
Sources close to the PDP candidate however say he would defy his party and proceed with his petition against the Governor.
One source said Mr. Airhiavbere met with leaders of the PDP from Edo South Senatorial district, where he hails from. The leaders, Premium Times learnt, urged him to continue with his petition.
Mr. Airhiavbere would not respond to calls made to his phone and has not commented on the position taken by his party.
While Mr. Airhiavbere refuses to toe his party’s line and withdraw his petition, the election petition tribunal has begun the process of hearing the petition against Mr. Oshiomhole.
The other respondents, apart from Mr. Oshiomhole, are the ACN, the Independent Electoral Commission, and Godwin Oshodin, a Professor at the University of Benin, and Returning Officer for the election.
Should the PDP candidate finally announce his decision to ignore his party’s decision, he would not be the first.
In 2007, after losing to Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, defiled his party and challenged the former’s victory in court.
The ANPP had jettisoned Mr. Buhari and instead decided to join a Government of National Unity set up by late Mr. Yar’Adua.
Mr. Oshiomhole has since the Edo elections appealed to his challenger, and the PDP, to join him to “lift our state to the high level where it should be.”