Ondo Election: INEC Raises Alarm Over Security

Ondo Governorship Election, Ondo Governorship PollThe 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

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, Ondo PDP
INEC-Recognised Ondo PDP Governorship Candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim

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.

Ondo PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi
Mr Eyitayo Jegede

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).

Olusola Oke, AD, Ondo Election
AD declares Olusola Oke as its candidate

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.

President Buhari having a chat with Governor Lalong and Mr Akeredolu
President Buhari having a chat with Governor Lalong and Mr Akeredolu

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.

Ondo Election Appeal Panel Disqualifies Self

Appeal Court, kogi electionThe special panel hearing the Ondo state PDP election appeal have disqualified themselves from the case following allegations of bribery leveled against the panel by the Chairman of PDP in Ondo State, Mr Biyi Poroye.

Chairman of the Panel, Justice Hannatu Sankey explained at the resumed hearing of the appeal that the chairman of PDP, Mr Biyi Poroye made the accusation in a petition addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal.

The three-man special panel was hearing the application for the leave of the court to appeal the judgment of a Federal High Court which enabled INEC to substitute the name of Mr Eyitayo Jegede with that of Jimoh Ibrahim

The accusation temporarily stalled hearing of the appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede against Biyi Poroye and 10 others as the panel took a break to decide whether to continue hearing the case.

After the break, Chairman of the Panel, Justice Hannatu Sankey disclosed that the panel would discontinue its involvement in the case.

She added that all files connected to the Ondo State governorship appeal would be returned to the President of the Court of Appeal for reassignment.

The Markafi faction of the PDP had declared the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo state, Eyitayo Jegede, as winner of the PDP governorship primary election in the state.

Mr. Eyitayo emerged the winner of the party’s primary by polling 760 votes to defeat the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the PDP in the 2012 governorship election.

However, the Ali-Modu Sheriff’s faction of the PDP picked governorship aspirant, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, as its candidate in the forthcoming poll.

Dr Ibrahim recorded 502 votes to win the election with his opponent, Mr Olusola Ebiseni, having 41 votes while 17 votes were invalid.

AD Suspends Three National Officers For Alleged Anti-Party Activities

alliance-for-democracy-adThe leadership of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) has suspended its National Deputy Chairman, North, Mr Shehu Musa and two others for alleged anti-party activities.

The other suspended officers are the party’s National Legal Adviser, Mr Kehinde Aworele and the National Organising Secretary, Mr Abdallah Ibrahim.

AD National Chairman, Mr Joseph Avazi, made the announcement at the end of a National Working Committee meeting of the party in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He said that the principal officers were suspended for convening an illegal meeting in Ondo State, with the aim of undermining the chances of the party in the November 26 governorship election.

In a communique read after the meeting, the AD mandated its National Secretary, Zonal Chairman (Northeast) and the Deputy Chairman (South) to take stock of states due to hold their congress with the aim of notifying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party’s leadership has affirmed that Mr Olusola Oke remains its authentic flag bearer for the forthcoming election and INEC has since recognised Mr Oke as the candidate for the polls.

The electoral umpire also listed Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the APC flag bearer.

INEC Lists Jimoh Ibrahim As PDP Candidate For Ondo Election

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, Ondo PDPThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ondo governorship election slated for November 26.

INEC released its list of candidates for the election on its website on Thursday evening.

Legal practitioner, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu was listed as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Alfred Agboola Ajayi as his running mate.

The candidate of the Labour Party is Adeuti Stephen Taye with Akinbamire Adebayo Benson as the running mate, while Olusola Oke was listed as the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), with Dauda Ganny Oluwadare his running mate.

Oke, who contested in the September 3 primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), dumped the party for the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to actualise his ambition.

A total of 28 political parties were listed to partake in the November election.

Jimoh Ibrahim’s listing alongside his running mate Alabi Ebenezer Omotayo is in line with a court order on October 14.

Justice Abang had ordered INEC to recognise Mr Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer for the election.

The court ordered to reinforce a verdict it earlier gave on June 29, which recognised the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP and directed INEC to only deal with the faction instead of the Markafi group.

Since then there have been demands by the two PDP factions that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must recognise their candidates.

Factions of the embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and that of the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Wednesday insisted that their candidates must be recognised, although the electoral law recognises one candidate per political party.

As INEC prepared to release its list on Friday, a Federal High Court declined to grant an application filed by the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, seeking to appeal the ruling that ordered the electoral umpire to recognise Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer.

In a ruling that lasted for about one hour on Wednesday in Abuja, Justice Okon Abang held that Mr Jegede lacked the ‘locus standi’ to appeal the decision of the court.

Peace Pact

Earlier in the day, participating political parties in Ondo State governorship election signed a peace pact to ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the polls.

The peace pact signing, which took place on Thursday at the Police Officers’ Mess in Akure, the state capital, was attended by some governorship aspirants as well as party officials and supporters.

The State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, urged the political stakeholders to adhere to the rules and regulations of the election.

He also asked them to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner before, during and after the polls.

The candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Agunloye and the Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Fatai Adams, pledged to play by the rules of the game.

Fifteen out of the 28 political parties that would partake in the November election were present at the signing of the peace pact.

Ondo PDP: Court Says Jegede Lacks ‘Locus Standi’ To Challenge Ibrahim

Court, Ondo PDP, Jimoh Ibrahim, Mr Eyitayo Jegede,A Federal High Court has declined to grant an application filed by the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, seeking to appeal an earlier decision that ordered the electoral umpire to recognise Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer in the Ondo governorship election.

In a ruling that lasted for about one hour on Wednesday in Abuja, Justice Okon Abang held that Mr Jegede lacked the ‘locus standi’ to appeal the decision of the court.

He added that Jegede was not mentioned in the substantive matter and as such, he lacked the right to appeal the judgment.

Justice Abang further stated that it was the political party that submitted the list of candidates it wanted to sponsor in the election.

Until the judgment is set aside, he says the Independent National Electoral Commission cannot receive nomination order than the plaintiff, “unless it wants to thread the path of illegality and that will not be good for the society”.

Pressure On INEC

On October 14, Justice Abang had ordered INEC to recognise Mr Ibrahim as the PDP flag bearer for the November 26 election in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

The court ordered to reinforce a verdict it earlier gave on June 29, which recognised the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP and directed INEC to only deal with the faction instead of the Markafi group.

Despite the ruling, both PDP factions have continued to mount pressure on INEC to recognise their candidates.

They insisted that their candidates must be recognised, even though the electoral laws recognised one candidate per political party.

This demand is coming barely 24 hours to when INEC said it would publish the names of candidates vying for the governorship seat.

Ondo Election: Stakeholders Sign Peace Pact For Peaceful Conduct

Ondo Election, PoliceParticipating political parties in Ondo State governorship election have signed a peace pact to ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the polls.

The peace pact signing, which took place on Thursday at the Police Officers’ Mess in Akure, the state capital, was attended by some governorship aspirants as well as party officials and supporters.

The State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, urged the political stakeholders to adhere to the rules and regulations of the election.

He also asked them to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner before, during and after the polls.

The candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Agunloye and the Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Fatai Adams, pledged to play by the rules of the game.

Fifteen out of the 28 political parties that would partake in the November election were present at the signing of the peace pact.

Dangerous For Democracy

The peace pact signing follows the demand by two PDP factions that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must recognise their candidates.

Factions of the embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and that of the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Wednesday insisted that their candidates must be recognised, although the electoral law recognises one candidate per political party.

In its reaction, INEC described the situation as very unfortunate and dangerous for democracy.

The demand comes barely 24 hours to when the electoral umpire said it would publish the names of candidates vying for the governorship seat.

PDP Factions In Ondo Want INEC To Recognise Two Candidates

PDP Chairmanship, Southwest ZoneTwo factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State have continued to mount pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognise their candidates.

The factions are making the demand ahead of the election that will hold next month.

Factions of the embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and that of the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Wednesday insisted that their candidates must be recognised, even though the electoral laws recognised one candidates per political party.

This demand is coming barely 24 hours to when INEC said it would publish the names of candidates vying for the governorship seat.

Supporters of Senator Sheriff, led by Professor Wale Oladipo, held a conference on Wednesday where they made the demand while those loyal to the Ahmed Makarfi led by Onoja King, also insisted that INEC must recognise their own candidate.

Dangerous For Democracy

Meanwhile, INEC has described the situation as very unfortunate and dangerous for democracy.

Earlier on Tuesday, at a meeting with members of the civil society groups, the INEC Director for Voters Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, expressed concern over the development, describing the situation as dangerous for democracy.

Although the electoral body is yet to publish the list of candidates in the governorship election, political watchers are watching whether the electoral body will be swayed by the pressures from these groups.

Recession, Jimoh Ibrahim, Ondo PDP
Jimoh Ibrahim, one of the candidates that a faction is presenting to INEC

On October 14, a faction of the party asked members and supporters to disregard a High Court judgement that declared Mr Jimoh Ibrahim the party’s candidate for the state’s governorship election.

In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr Banji Okunomo, the PDP stated that its governorship candidate could only emerge through a due process in consonance with the constitution of the party.

“The party believes that its governorship candidate can never be produced through the back door or some unconstitutional procedures.

“The Supreme Court of Nigeria has made it clear that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of a party could nominate the governorship candidate.

“This was done in the nomination of Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). As such, no High Court can invalidate or alter this position which is clearly defined by the highest ruling court in Nigeria,” the party said.

The PDP allayed fears of party members, saying appropriate steps were already being taken to quash what it called an “obnoxious and baseless ruling”, referring to the judgement of the court.

With the disagreement continuing, it appears the party has not addressed the situation.