By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) on its victory in the Ekiti State governorship election, urging the “Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to identify, arrest and diligently prosecute anyone who sponsored, aided and abetted the offender to send the right signal that with the new electoral act, it won’t be business as usual.”
The Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Oyebode Adebowale, had declared Biodun Oyebanji of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the Ekiti State governorship election.
Oyebanji scored 187,057 votes to defeat his closest rivals, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, in a statement on Sunday said after a review of the process and the outcome of the Ekiti State governorship election, “the congratulates the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the outcome of the election.
“We also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and call on the electoral umpire to make a bold statement ahead of the 2023 general elections by bringing to justice all electoral offenders in the just concluded Ekiti State governorship election.
“Effectively prosecuting electoral offenders will be the first step towards stamping out vote-buying, undue influence, intimidation, ballot-box snatching, and all other forms of electoral offences in the country.
“The powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission on trial of offences under the Electoral Act 2022 is provided for by Section 45 of the Act, which states that
“(1) An offence committed under this Act shall be triable in a Magistrate Court or a High Court of a State in which the offence is committed, or the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. (2) A prosecution under this Act shall be undertaken by legal officers of the Commission or any legal practitioner appointed by it.”
“Therefore, the CNPP strongly urges the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately activate its prosecutorial powers under the Electoral Act 2022 and relevant laws of the country to scale up its commitment to deepening democracy and promote transparency in our electoral processes”, the statement stated.