Edo Guber:  Group Slams State LP, Commends INEC over Candidates’ List

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Ahead of the September 21 governorship polls in Edo State, a youth group within the Labour Party in the state under the umbrella of “Shine Your Eyes Group” (SYEG), yesterday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for adhering strictly to the rule of law in deepening democracy in the LP’s deputy governorship candidate list.

Akpata had before the April 24 deadline given to parties for the election, substituted Alufokhai for Prince Kadiri Yussufu Asamah (SAN) as his new running mate.

But reaction to an earlier statement by the state chairman of the party, Mr. Kelly Ogbaloi, who faulted INEC’s listing Oluyinka Faith Alufohai as the running mate to LP Candidate, Mr. Olumide Akpata, said that it served the party right on what the electoral umpire did.

The group, in a statement signed by its chairman, Jonah Ifada and Secretary, Osagie Omoregie, also knocked the Edo State chairman of the party, Ogbaloi over his rejection of INEC final list and reminded the party that what the electoral body has done was in accordance to the law and deserves commendation.

They also noted that what has become the lot and tragedy of LP in Edo was a clear reflection of the sham called primary it conducted in the state where the wishes of party’s faithful was subverted by those entrusted to run the affairs of the party.

The group, in a widely circulated statement in Benin City, noted that “our attention has been drawn to the ranting by the Edo State chairman of the Labour Party, Kelly Ogbaloi, rejecting the nomination of Oluyinka Faith Alufohai in INEC announced final list of candidates as ludicrous. 

“We want to state equivocally and remind Ogbaloi that INEC is not like the Labour Party. What INEC has done was in line with the rule of law and deserves commendation for being vigilance and thorough.

“We had warned the Labour Party to play by the rules of the game but they choose to bow to the weight of Naira and dollars to subvert democracy and the wishes of our people.

“As stakeholders, we are, however, confident that the abnormality by the party would be corrected by the court as we have it on good authority that one of the aspirants, Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, has gone to court to seek interpretation of the constitution as regards issues in the party’s primary.       

Recall that Imansuangbon in his petition stated that Olumide Akpata committed a horde of offences ranging from giving false information to the acquisition of citizenship of another country, which is a grand departure from the Nigerian Constitution’s accepted norms.

On the allegation of false information, Imansuangbon alleged that Akpata, the LP candidate while filling INEC form EC 9 “stated his name to be Akpata Olumide Anthony which is different from and not the same as Akpata Olumide Osaigbovo,” which he earlier stated on oath to be his name and under which he contested and reportedly won the primary election of the LP.

Imansuangbon wanted the court to determine whether Akpata “has not supplied or otherwise given false information to the INEC within the meaning or contemplation of the provisions of section 29(5) of the Electoral Act 2022 read together with section 182(1) (a) and (j) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

On Akpata taking an oath of allegiance of Vanuatu, an independent and sovereign nation, Imansuangbon wanted clear interpretation of the Nigerian constitution to know if Akpata’s “claim on oath, in the said INEC form EC 9 that he has not voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country is not or does not amount to false information, within the meaning of the provisions of section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, read together with section 182(1) (a) and (j) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended).”

On Oluyinka Faith Alufokhai, “who is parading herself” as the running mate of Akpata, the petitioner cited some information that she supplied in INEC form EC 9 which do not add up. The information includes that “she was born in 1981 and that she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate in the same year of her birth.

“Her name is Alufokhai Oluyinka Faith while her former name was Ikheafe and she obtained three certificates namely OND, HND and PGD the same year, 2005.”

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