Oghenevede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
Former Presidential Adviser (Media) and House of Representatives hopeful, Olorogun Ima Niboro, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of bias, following the purported substitution of his name by the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is despite the Federal High Court’s contempt notice on the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for disobeying its order not to submit a list of Delta APC candidates with the electoral umpire.
Niboro, a former Managing Director of NAN, in a statement released in Abuja by his campaign organisation, said both the national leadership of APC and INEC acted illegally, contending that INEC’s action showed that it is not neutral.
He wondered why Oshiomhole was in a hurry to submit names when a court of competent jurisdiction had already restrained him from doing so.
The APC stalwart held that Jones Erue, a factional chairman of APC in Delta state, who supervised a parallel primary with “fake delegates”, lacked constitutional powers to do so because he had been restrained from parading himself as the chairman of the party in Delta State by various courts of competent jurisdiction.
Maintaining his stand that he emerged legally at the APC primaries, Niboro submitted that he was the validly nominated candidate of the party, adding that “if any names were to be published by INEC, it must be mine.”
He said that the path to deepening the nation’s democracy and widening APC’s reach and influence remained in ensuring that justice is served to every member. He counseled that the national leadership of APC must speedily resolve all the issues pertaining to the primaries in a justiciable manner to ensure that the chances of the party in the 2019 general elections were not narrowed.
He added : “Sadly, since the party has been unable to manage her internal election process well, only the courts can save it from itself.
“A few months ago, I issued a widely circulated statement in which I expressed confidence that the APC will sweep the 2019 elections once it is able to put its house in order.
“Unfortunately, the party that held out so much promise to millions in my home state, Delta, has descended into near chaos and many of us in the state are rather bemused about how we got to this sorry pass.
“We are deeply concerned that this crisis can only negatively affect our chances in next year’s general elections. This is sad and avoidable. Our advice is that, since we have willy-nilly dug ourselves into this hole, we must allow the judiciary a free hand to dig us out.”
The Federal High Court sitting in Asaba on November 1 issued a contempt notice on the National chairman of APC and INEC for disobeying its order not to submit or accept any list of Delta APC candidates for the 2019 general elections until the resolution of the case.
The court noted that despite its order dated October 17, 2018, Comrade Oshiomole still went ahead to submit names of purported NASS candidates from Delta APC to INEC and that INEC also went ahead to receive and publish such names even when the order directed both parties in the case not to do so but to maintain “status quo.”
It warned :“Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in the order, you will be guilty of contempt and you will be liable to prison.”