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Ondo Governorship: INEC Must Restore Her Independence 

 

A Pro-democracy Non-governmental organisation – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA  (HURIWA ) has condemned the publication of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as Ondo PDP governorship candidate in the November election barely few hours after the same electoral panel alleged a sinister attempt by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim to meet with the Ondo State electoral commissioner in London, the United Kingdom. 

The Rights group said the action by INEC to so publish Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim’s name as the PDP candidate has presented the current hierarchy of the Independent National Electoral Commission as that which easily capitulates to alleged blackmail and appears to take instructions from outside of the perimeters of that electoral institution which constitutionally enjoys independence in decision making and on disciplinary matters.

 HURIWA cautioned the hierarchy of INEC to stop endangering the autonomy of that commission just as the Rights group asserted that the decision by INEC to substitute Eyitayo Jegede’s name with Jimoh Ibrahim was reminiscent of the ill -advised eleventh hour  postponement of the Edo state governorship poll on the spurious and nebulous advice of the Departmentof State Services and the Nigerian public Force on the false alarm of terror threats. 

HURIWA said:  “INEC capitulated to what even the electoral commission herself calls a blackmail by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim who had accused the Director of Legal services of the Independent National Electoral Commission of demanding a bribe of a whooping sum of $1million before authorising the publication of his name as the PDP candidate. What happened that changed the dynamics in the original recognition accorded Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the bonafide candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party between when Mr Jimoh Ibrahim brandished the Justice Okon Abang Federal High Court Order and almost immediately raised alarm of attempt to force him to pay $1million bribe-for- publication and when within 24 hours his name actually got recognised even as Eyitayo Jegede hitherto recognised and listed as the candidate by INEC got his name surreptitiously substituted?”

In the statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA has therefore faulted the decision by INEC regarding the PDP rightful flag bearer and for electing to accept the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja from a controversial judge suspected to be doing the bidding of the Presidency even when the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which has coordinate jurisdiction had similarly de-recognised the Ahmadu Sheriff’s faction which produced Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as it’s candidate for Ondo governorship poll in a highly secretive  primary election that took place in another state in far away Oyo state.

HURIWA  recalled that the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court had  granted an injunction restraining the immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Professor Adewale Oladipo who were removed from office at the PDP

National Convention held on Saturday May 21, 2016,

from parading themselves as National officers of the Party pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice brought before it by the Peoples Democratic Party.

According to a court order personally signed by the presiding judge, Justice A. M. Liman, the court  granted a restraining order on any member of the National Working Committee of the PDP who was removed from office by the Party’s National Convention in Port Harcourt from receiving nominations and or submitting

names to the Independent National Electoral

Commission (INEC) as officers or candidates of the PDP in whatever capacity pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice brought by the Party.

HURIWA affirmed that in addition, INEC was restrained by the Court  from according or continuing to accord any recognition to Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, Professor Adewale Oladipo or any or all members of the National Working Committee of the PDP removed from office at the Party’s National Convention in Port Harcourt, as officers or organs of the PDP pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The Rights group therefore wondered why the Professor Yakubu Mahmoud led INEC obeyed Justice Okon Abang’s controversial  order almost with a speed of lightening after it had already been prohibited from so doing in a binding court order. 

“We call on INEC to reverse this undemocratic and unconstitutional substitution of Chief Eyitayo Jegede’s name with Jimoh Ibrahim even as the Rights group has asked for Eyitayo Jegede to be restored as the rightful candidate of the PDP having been elected at a primary election that took place within the jurisdiction of Ondo State in line with their political party’s statutes and common sense. Eyitayo Jegede was produced at a properly conducted primary election supervised by INEC and in which officially recognised delegates participated and civil society groups such as HURIWA  observed and adjudged as free, fair,  transparent and peaceful.  INEC must restore her Independence and live above board except the current hierarchy is determined to become the undertaker of Nigeria’s extant democratic system”.

 

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