Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Following the publication of their names by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for allegedly engaging in electoral malpractices, the former acting Governor of Kogi State, Chief Clarence Olafemi and Senator Ayo Arise have threatened to drag the commission to court.
Olafemi, who spoke with journalists at a press conference yesterday in respect of the publication, faulted the inclusion of his name despite being exonerated by the Court of Appeal after the tribunal first indicted him in 2003.
He wondered why the commission still went ahead to list him as number four on the list, adding that he will be approaching the court to seek redress.
“I have instructed my lawyer to commence legal proceedings with a view to seeking redress
“It was true that my election into the state House of Assembly in 2003 was challenged in the tribunal by my opponent, and the tribunal ruled against me
“My counsel studied the lower tribunal’s judgment did does not represent justice at all. So we proceeded to the Appeal Court where the petitioner was asked if there were policemen at the polling unit, and he answered yes.
“The appellant court also demanded to know if there was any reported case of fracas, and he confirmed there was none. Even Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attested to the fact that none of their ballot boxes missed during the election at the local government area.
“Therefore, the judges unanimously accepted that there was a miscarriage of justice at the lower tribunal. The judges nullified all the judgments of the tribunal and declared me winner of the election,” he said.
He therefore wondered that after nine years, why is the commission still dwelling on a judgment which had been overruled by a superior court and went ahead to list his name among those who had been involved in electoral malpractices nine years after.
Olufemi stressed that after the episode, he went on to become the Speaker of the state assembly and later the acting governor of the state without any issue.
“This is a clear case of mischief and the handwork of my political enemies who were bent on tarnishing my hard-earned reputation which I have built for over 40 years of active participation in politics
“The commission should be scrapped because they are not doing what they supposed to do; they are now playing politics and not what they are meant to do,” he added.
On his part, Arise expressed shock and displeasure over a recent report by the NHRC branding him as one of the electoral offenders in the 2007 general election.
Arise, who represented Ekiti North senatorial district in the Senate, argued that he could not phantom the basis for the purported report since he was duly elected and certified by the electoral body.
Reacting to the report in a telephone interview with journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the ex- legislator said the commission was totally unfair to his person,since he was neither invited nor questioned by its agents before the report was prepared and published.
He alleged that the commission,in a desperate bid to give some semblance of credibility to what he termed as ‘shoddy job’ only embarked on ‘brandname’ indictment .
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Ekiti State disclosed that he had instructed his attorney to write a strongly worded petition to the commission to retract the report and tender an unreserved apology,failure of which would attract a legal action.
Arise posited that he had always being a strong advocate of any process or reform that would strengthen the electoral system cautioning that those saddled with the responsibility should not abused the privilege giving to them by rubbishing the reputations of innocent Nigerians.