The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised security concern over the attitude of politicians in Ondo State ahead of the forthcoming governorship election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, says the actions of some aggrieved politicians in the state since the political parties conducted their primaries is capable of undermining the security of the state.
“The mindset of the political class, especially the politicians that belong to the leading political party on what it takes to win elections usually involve violence and malpractices among their followers.
“There is an urgent need for the political class to change its do or die attitude to good conduct in politics and a political caution of violence has to be done away with in our political parties.
“Our political parties must imbibe the culture of sincere eternal party democracy in the interest of the nation’s democracy,” he said.
Mr Agbaje made the remarks on Thursday at a meeting with members of the civil society groups in Abuja, to assess INEC’s preparation for the elections.
‘I Will Resign’
On the sideline of the event, the senior INEC official also explained why the electoral umpire published the name of Mr
Jimoh Ibrahim as the Peoples Democratic Part (PDP) candidate for the polls.
The decision has led to massive protest in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.
“It is the court judgement of that day that forced us to say it is this person and that means if another higher court comes with a judgement to say it is Eyitayo Jegede, (we will obey),” he noted.
Agbaje further revealed that he had made a commitment that INEC would obey the ruling of the Appeal Court if the ruling favours Jegede.
“If the Appeal Court says it is Eyitayo, the commission cannot say no, but if it does, I will resign my appointment as a commissioner,” he stated.
Meanwhile Mr Clement Nwakwo, who is a member of one of the civil groups, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, had a different view about the procedure of selecting candidates.
He advised the politicians to address issues of candidacy in-house, instead of approaching various courts for such decisions.
“I do not think that INEC has any major role to play in deciding who the candidates are (and) that’s why they have taken the decision.
“It is really for the political parties to sort out their mess for the court to really not become a theatre of deciding who candidates are, but the political party themselves making those decisions in line with their own process and the rule of law,” he recommended.
PDP Crisis Deepens
At least 1.6 million registered voters are expected to participate in the Saturday, November 26 governorship polls in Ondo State.
There has been crisis over the authenticity of candidates in some of the parties in the polls including the PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alliance for Democracy (AD).
While the APC and AD finally adopted Mr Rotimi Akeredolu and Mr Olusola Oke as their respective candidates, the controversy has deepened in the PDP.
Both factions of the party have continued to lay claim to having produced the authentic candidate of the party, although the Ali Modu Sheriff faction is backed by the court ruling which favoured Jimoh Ibrahim and which INEC has obeyed.
The PDP faction led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has equally been optimistic that “justice would be served” and called on all PDP faithful across Nigeria as well as the general public to remain calm and continue to support them.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, the Caretaker Committee has reiterated its support for Jegede as the party’s sole flag-bearer.
On his part, APC candidate, Mr Akeredolu has made a mockery of the PDP, saying he would defeat both Ibrahim and Jegede if put together in the polls.
Briefing reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, he boasted that he would emerge victorious at the poll.