The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State has accused the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, and his national commissioners of incompetence following their “shoddy” handling of the just concluded governorship election in the state.
In a communiqué made available to journalists on Monday, after a meeting of its stakeholders in Akure on Sunday to review the November 26 governorship election, the party lashed out at INEC, accusing it of shoddy preparations for the election.
The communiqué signed by the party’s secretary, Oyedele Ibine, noted the “curious removal of our candidate’s name, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN from the list of candidates for the election.”
The party held that INEC deviated from the provisions of the Electoral Act, and deliberately foisted on the PDP a “preconceived agenda to subvert the process.”
The PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, scored 150,380 votes to lose to the All Progressives Congress candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, who scored 244,842 votes
The PDP had suffered a setback in the election arising from litigations affecting the candidacy of the party. The court finally declared Eyitayo Jegede candidate a couple of days to the election. Prior to that, Jimoh Ibrahim was recognised by INEC as PDP candidate.
The PDP called on INEC to postpone the election, but the request was turned down by the electoral body.
According to INEC, the PDP crisis was an internal problem that could not lead to a postponement.
“We condemn the rush of INEC to conduct the election on November 26th, in view of the fact that it constitutionally still had up to January 2017 to conduct the election,” the communiqué said.
“This attitude did not allow our party to campaign for the election particularly after we won in the Court of Appeal on 24th November, barely 48 hours to the election, thus INEC by this action reinforced and confirmed our suspicion that it was on a mission to ensure that the PDP lose the election by every means.
“Therefore we call for the resignation of the INEC Chairman and the National Commissioners as it is obvious that they are ill equipped and grossly incompetent to discharge the responsibilities of their office impartially.
“INEC under them has demonstrated its inability to conduct free and fair election in Nigeria. The continued stay in office of these people is a threat to the peace and health of our nation.”
The party, however, expressed its confidence in the judiciary, particularly the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court for doing appropriate justice during the party’s efforts to get its candidate back on the ballot.
The PDP also said it reposed confidence in the leadership of the outgoing state governor, Olusegun Mimiko.
“His leadership acumen and giant strides remains the catalyst that has lifted our state to a great height and development,” the party stressed.
“We continue to repose our trust and confidence in him as our political leader and therefore pledge our unflinching support for him even now and after his tenure as governor ends.”
While presenting the certificate of return to Mr. Akeredolu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo, Olusegun Agbaje, submitted that the commission was fair to the parties in the election.
He denied that the commission aided the APC candidate, assuring that INEC officials did their jobs as specified by the law.
The PDP has however vowed to challenge the election at the Election Petitions Tribunal although both Mr. Mimiko and Mr. Jegede have congratulated Mr. Akeredolu for the victory.
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