INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega
By James Sowole
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the October 20 gubernatorial election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, at the weekend, filed a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal challenging the declaration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Change (PDC) and its candidate, Victor Oluwafemi Adetusin, have equally approached the tribunal to challenge Mimiko’s victory.
The filing of the PDP and PDC’s petitions has brought to four the number of political parties and their candidates challenging the governor over the election.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Accord Party (AP) had earlier filed their petitions against the election.
The PDC candidate, Adetusin, alleged in the petition that the INEC, which is one of the respondents in the petition, deliberately and wrongfully, omitted its party’s logo, which was similar to that of the LP and which made many voters who ordinarily, would have voted for it to wrongly voted for the LP candidate.
Meanwhile, the ACN yesterday disclosed why it filed a petition against the election of Mimiko.
The party said it was in court because of its commitment to deepen the country’s democratic experiences, to help build INEC as an enduring institution which is truly independent and committed to executing its mandate with a high sense of responsibility and to prevent colossal rigging in the 2015 elections.
In a statement by its Director of Media, Publicity and Strategy, Idowu Ajanaku, the party declared that the governorship election in the state contrary to the widespread information, was marred by serious irregularities and malpractices.
“It is a notorious fact that officials of the LP were arrested during the elections with thumb-printed ballot papers, there were violence against the opposition before and during the election which significantly altered the results.
“Moreso, the LP government has been exhibiting behaviours betraying its mischievousness since after the election by various acts inimical to progress. How do you explain unprovoked attacks on traditional leaders? Why would the state government now revive a 15 year obnoxious and moribund law so as to deprive the citizens of their means of life hood in rural areas of Odigbo and other places?
“If Governor Mimiko believes that he won the election free and fair, why has he not concentrated on how to fulfill the failed promises of the past three and half years instead of vindictiveness? Governor Mimiko surely has something to hide.
“This is why we are in court to show the whole world the true position of what transpired in the state on October 20. We are in court just like Mimiko did in 2007 when his mandate was stolen, to make the vote of the people count,” the statement added.
The party noted that when it finally presents its case in court, the revelation that the late Prophet Ayo Babalola and Mike Tyson, voted in the state in 2007 would be a child play.
“In this case even sprits voted in the last governorship election! It is a notorious fact that INEC officials were arrested with over 10,000 Ballot papers, the Igbeayo card and biometric registration data were all imported into the INEC registration database,” the statement added.
The party stated that it was also in court to expose to the whole world, the ballot stuffing carried in the houses of political appointees, elder statesmen and Oba palaces.
“We are also in court to expose the allocation of votes for LP, creation of secret units and collation centres to perpetuate electoral fraud; glaring violence, malpractices, irregularities and non compliance with the electoral act 2010; the falsification of voters register by INEC to ensure victory of Mimiko; the connivance of some political office holders in the state with security agents and INEC staff to rig the poll in favour of Labour Party; the ballot hijacking, ballot box snuffing, massive multiple thumb printing of Ballot papers by Labour Party agents.
It equally stated that its commitment to justice and faith in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man was unwavering.
“We want to reinforce the confidence of our people in the judiciary and in our nation, that there is still hope. According to the revered Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, ‘the man died in him who keeps silence in the face of tyranny”, we can not therefore be quiet in the face of this outright rape on our democracy, especially when it seems that everyone who should know now pretend not to see claiming that all is well which may not augur well for our nascent democracy.
“For us in ACN, we have prayed the court for the nullification of October 20 poll on the basis that Mimiko was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes, that the election is invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with provision of the Electoral Act.”