WITH about one month to the Ondo State governorship election, a coalition of civil society organisations in Abuja on Tuesday, October 25, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ignore threat by some unscrupulous politicians, who are not bent on truncating the country’s democracy, using ‘procured’ court judgement.
Not less than 22 civil groups at a roundtable on emerging issues of November 26, Ondo governorship election, in Abuja, unanimously agreed that Nigerians must rally round the electoral umpire to save it from influence of corrupt politicians.
Speaking at the occasion in Abuja, Ezenwa Nwagu, chairman, Partner for Electoral Reform, explained that if INEC was not defended from the attacks of questionable characters, it will bring “question on the legitimacy of those who govern us.”
He said it was so unfortunate that Judiciary, which supposed to be the last hope of the common man, was now beginning to take the place of the people in a democracy through conflicting court orders, leaving the politicians to choose the verdict to obey.
Ezenwa insisted that court should not be used to subvert the country’s democracy, nothing that a situation where politician would not take part in the electoral process, but brandishing court order to scatter the process should not be entertained.
“Court order in Nigeria is cheaper that a bag of rice. People purchase it like goods in the market. It is so unfortunate that people, who will not present themselves, will emerge at the end of the day,” he said.
In his remarks, Osaze Oluwole-Uzezi, director of Voter Education, INEC, explained that only party is allowed by the electoral act to submit candidate for election not by individual, expressing concern over candidature through court order.
He said the commission was totally ready for the exercise in Ondo State, adding that the list of candidates would be published on Thursday, October 27, for electorate to see.
According to him, over 16,700 adhoc staff would be deployed for the exercise to ensure free, fair and credible election.
— Oct 26, 2016 @ 19:40 GMT