Stakeholders Mount Pressure On INEC

THERE are pressures on the Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, to shift the November 26 governorship election. 

Stakeholders in the state have asked the electoral body to shift the date of the poll by at least three weeks to allow all court cases relating to the candidacy of the major parties to be resolved. 

There are legal tangos over the governorship tickets of three of the major political parties – Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress, APC, and Alliance for Democracy, AD.

Of the four leading candidates, only the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Dr Olu Agunloye is free of legal encumbrance as his primary and that of his Deputy, Modupe Akindele, went peacefully.

The candidacy of the APC Candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN is being challenged by the first runner up in the APC primary, Olusegun Abraham. 

The AD Candidate, Olusola Oke, has been dragged to the Federal High courts both in Ondo and Abuja while Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, is at the Court of Appeal to retrieved his PDP ticket from Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim. Aides to the three governorship candidates are unanimous that the poll be shifted to allow for the resolution of the cases. Although, the Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in the state, Olusegun Agbaje has insisted that the election would not be postponed, recent developments as regards the court cases may necessitate a shift in the date. 

His aides said they could not speak on the sensitive matter as the headquarters has the final say on the date of the poll. However, the Ondo Rebirth Group ORG weekend advised that the INEC to postpone the poll for the sake of equity and justice.

A statement by its Director General, Olusola Akinbinu, said “as a matter of justice, fair-play and equity, the INEC should shift the election date for nothing less than 10 days, for parties involved in the election to be given a level playing ground’’ because ‘’there is nothing cast in iron about November 26 as the fixed date for the election.’’ 

It said: “Since the Electoral Act 2010 (with 2011 Amendments) & Allied matters section 25(8) states that “An election to the office of the Governor of a state shall be held on a date not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of term of office of the last holder of that office. So, any date till the 25th of January, 2017 is acceptable by the Law. 

“Considering also the sensitivity of the candidacy issue of major political parties to the election, and the litigation processes, nothing will be lost, if INEC allows the expeditious litigations at the Appeal court to finalize with the short required time, thereby allowing the electorate to sincerely choose who they want as their leader, and in the interest of peace, progress and tranquility.”