A coalition of civil society organisations in Abuja has, on Tuesday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ignore threat by Ondo State governorship aspirant, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, and his cohorts.
The call came consequent upon the recent altercation between INEC and Mr. Jimoh.
Jimoh had alleged that INEC officials asked him for one million Naira bribe in order to make him the Ondo State Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] governorship candidate.
The group referred to him as ‘unscrupulous politicians, who are bent on truncating the country’s democracy, using ‘procured’ court judgement’.
With just about one month to the Ondo State governorship election, not less than 22 civil groups gathered at a roundtable on emerging issues of November 26 Ondo Governorship Election, in Abuja.
They unanimously agreed that Nigerians must rally round the electoral umpire to save it from influence of corrupt politicians.
Speaking at the occasion in Abuja, the Chairman, Partner for Electoral Reform, Ezenwa Nwagu, explained that if INEC is not defended from the attacks of questionable characters, it will bring “question on the legitimacy of those who govern us.”
He said it is so unfortunate that Judiciary, which supposed to be the last hope of the common man, is now beginning to take the place of the people in a democracy through conflicting court orders, leaving the politicians to choose the verdict to obey.
Ezenwa insisted that court should not be used to subvert the country’s democracy, nothing that a situation where politician would not take part in the electoral process, but brandishing court order to scatter the process should not be entertained.
“Court order in Nigeria is cheaper that a bag of rice. People purchase it like goods in the market. It is so unfortunate that people, who will not present themselves, will emerge at the end of the day,” he said.
In his remarks, the Director of Voter Education, INEC, Osaze Oluwole-Uzezi, explained that it is only party that is allowed by the electoral act to submit candidate for election not by individual, expressing concern over candidature through court order.
He disclosed that they are totally ready for the exercise in Ondo state, adding that the list of candidates would be published this week Thursday for electorate to see.
According to him, over 16,700 ad hoc staff would be deployed for the exercise to ensure free, fair and credible election.
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