A FACTION of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under the leadership of Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, has threatened to sue the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, if it failed to recognise Jimoh Ibrahim as the party’s candidate for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
The faction said the suit would serve to enforce the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of federal high court, Abuja, which ordered the commission to accept Ibrahim as the authentic candidate of the party in the state.
Wale Oladipo, national secretary of the faction of the party, who stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, October 26, said it was wrong for the INEC to be foot-dragging in recognising Ibrahim, based on the judgment of the court.
The INEC has promised to publish the names of candidates that will participate in the election on Thursday.
According to available information, the commission has put the name of Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, on its website as the PDP candidate for the election.
Jegede, who was until recently the commissioner for justice in Ondo State, is from the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the faction of the party.
However, Oladipo said the INEC must correct “the anomaly” unless it wants its officers to be sued for contempt. He said: “We won’t do anything than to apply to the court that the officers be charged for contempt. Definitely, some people will go to court and they will end up in Kuje Prison.
“However, we are appealing to the commission to do what is right in order to enable us concentrate on our campaign. Enough of this distraction.
“Ondo State is very dear to us. It is the only state that the opposition has never governed in the South-West, just as we (the PDP) have never succeeded in governing Lagos State.”
Oladipo further said that INEC must be neutral and should not be seen to be taking sides in the crisis that has engulfed the party since it lost the presidential election in May 2015.
“INEC must be neutral in Ondo. We are not asking for favour; we are only asking that the commission defend the law.
“We sold forms and did screening. We conducted primary and he (Ibrahim) emerged. There’s is also a court judgment which affirmed the primary and the candidature of Ibrahim. When we are pursuing reconciliation, we won’t compromise Ibrahim’s candidature.
“We, therefore, call on INEC to give recognition to our candidate. INEC must obey court orders. INEC has no business interpreting the judgment. It must not and can not act as the Court of Appeal,” Oladipo said.
— Oct 26, 2016 @ 20:20 GMT