Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A legal practitioner and civil right campaigner, Mr. Kayode Ajulo has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to apply the full weight of the law on ruling All Progressives Party (APC) for allegedly flouting the laws in the conduct of its party primaries.
He said that based on the alleged violations of the Electoral Act during the conduct of APC presidential primary election, INEC should discountenance it. He said that what APC had as primaries failed the ordinary tests of a civilized democracy.
In a statement issued on Saturday on the crisis trailing APC primary elections, Ajulo said it is worrisome that a ruling party that should ordinarily set the pace for the ideals and be a model for standards “chose to descend into such abysmally dirty dealings in the name of party”. primaries.
He said: “To put it mildly, it ruptures the little, subsisting faith that ordinary citizens retain in a fledgling but gangling democracy. It is uncivil, unlawful and unacceptable, and it should so be regarded without mincing words”.
On the presidential primary election, Ajulo said: “Premising on the judgment of the Apex court, and the provisions of extant law on party primaries, the voidable APC Presidential Primaries and the irregular nomination of APC Presidential Candidate and his vice, Professor Oluyemi Osinbajo, (SAN) ought to be discountenanced and totally rejected by INEC in pursuant to the extant laws referred to herein.” Ajulo accused the INEC, of deliberately ignoring all the malfeasance committed by APC during its recent party party primaries across the country.
According to the Lawyer, both the constitution and the electoral law were violated in a brazen manner that should not have escaped the attention of the INEC.
“INEC’s independence and neutrality is patently in doubt if the Commission should go ahead with the general election with the embattled APC candidates when they ought to have been rejected due to non-compliance and violation of the extents laws relating to election in Nigeria.
He said nationwide crisis that presently rocks the party and caused heavy litigation in the wake of the primary should send the obvious message in relation to the extent of compliance with this regulation.
Commenting on the aspect of the constitution that governs election of candidates, Ajulo said the law is clear that “no political party shall set criteria or conditions to pre-qualify an aspirant to contest in its primaries as candidate except such conditions are in line with the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the constitution of the party, as approved by the Commission, as well as the regulations, guidelines and directives of the Commission”.
He also said that the constitution empowers the commission to on its own motion or based on a complaint made by any member of a political party, determine that any of the conditions or criteria imposed by a political party to pre-qualify an aspirant to contest its primaries is in violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) or the constitution of the party as approved, or the regulations, guidelines and directives of the Commission, and require that the party sets aside the said condition or criteria to comply with the law.
“It adds that all political parties must comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) that requires that primaries be held by direct or indirect primaries, in addition to complying with all regulations, guidelines and directives of the Commission.”