By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
Following the claim by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rivers State, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, on Friday that it did not disqualify the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate for Akuku-Toru Constituency II, Hon. Tonye Alalibo, from participating in the re-run Election in Rivers State, but acted in compliance with the judgments of the Election Tribunal and Court of Appeal, the State Chairman of the Party, Felix Obuah says the Commission is only making efforts to deceive the public when it does not have any evidence to justify its action.
The PDP Chairman flayed the action of the commission which exposes obvious case of compromise in dealing with that particular issue, explaining that there is no court judgment to show that both the party and its candidate were excluded from participating in the election as alleged by the REC in the State, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak.
Obuah in a statement signed by his spokesman Herry Needam, challenged Mr. Ikoiwak to produce and make public any of such evidences to justify his action. Otherwise, the Commission should reverse its decision and declare the PDP candidate, Hon. Tonye Alalibo, who scored the highest number of votes cast winner, to demonstrate its professed neutrality and uprightness.
The State Party Chairman maintains that no Election Petition Tribunal or Appeal Court has right to disqualify any candidate, when the issue of disqualification was not part of the subject matter before them, and that INEC on its part lacks power to disqualify the PDP candidate, wondering where such disqualification came from, if not being induced by the All Progressives Congress.
The PDP emphasizes that the judgments of both the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in which it is in possession of, do not contain the claim by the REC. The Party therefore, advises Mr. Ikoiwak to again go through the judgments, if he truly has the authentic copies.
Believing that the Commission took the decision in bad faith and having been pressured to do same by the APC higher authorities, the PDP says even though it is considering taking advantage of the constitution of the Re-run Election Petition Tribunal, exploring legal means in securing justice, it would be honorable and also save public resources if the Commission rightly declares the authentic winner in the election, following its poll’s records.
We expect INEC to be truly independent and to ensure its reputation is not compromised. We would do everything to cooperate with and support our institutions in achieving a free, fair and peaceful election and to ensure justice in our democratic system, not this kind of electoral conspiracy.We therefore, need the cooperation of INEC in achieving this, rather than becoming a tool in the hands of the party at the centre in subverting the decision of the electorate in the State. It is a dangerous situation for our democracy, and most not be allowed to triumph.