Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State yesterday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not been fair to the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN.
The governor said the commission was trying to foist injustice on the people of the state by insisting to go ahead with the election.Mimiko, who personally addressed a press conference, said the PDP was yet to have agents for the poll.
It will be recalled that the Appeal Court on Thursday declared Jegede the authentic PDP candidate by dismissing the ruling of the lower court which earlier directed INEC to recognise Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as the party’s candidate.
Mimiko also disclosed that the Commission had not released the collation tags for ward collation officers for PDP ward agents.
He wondered how INEC expected the PDP candidate to campaign round the local governments, raise money for the elections and also screen his agent.
The governor alleged concerted efforts by INEC and forces within the APC to prevent the emergence of a credible and electable candidate for the PDP in the state.
Mimiko further disclosed that the voter register which should have been given to the candidate was released only 48 hours to the election, contrary to Electoral Law which stipulates 30 days to the poll.
According to the governor, the “ungodly process” started when INEC, in disregard of extant laws governing elections, removed the name of Eyitayo Jegede on the basis of a Justice Okon Abang order which has since been declared by the Supreme Court as a fraud.
His words: “We wonder why INEC could remove the name of a man who emerged from a party primary that was conducted in a free, fair and open environment and by legitimate organs of the party, where INEC itself was represented, with another from a process that is illegal, and by people not known to law and logic.
“INEC discarded all legal advice not to substitute Eyitayo Jegede by its own chosen consortium of lawyers!
“Several other hurdles were placed on the ways of the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, to the extent that he did not become a candidate until about 48hrs to election, on the directive of the Court of Appeal!
“INEC did not release the list of voters register to the PDP until yesterday, in clear infraction of its own laws and against its advertised ‘Time Table and Schedule of Activities” for the Ondo election.
“INEC refused to publish Eyitayo Jegede’s name for 30 days as stipulated in Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010.
“INEC denied Eyitayo Jegede the right to submit his party agents’ list at least seven days before the election as stipulated in Section 45 of the Electoral Act 2010, among many others!
“As we speak, collation tags for ward collation officers are not available for PDP ward agents!
“More than the above, the agents on INEC list are agents submitted by a man already aptly described by the courts as an impostor, who has also openly showed he is working as a fifth columnist in the Ondo election.
“Every resident of Ondo State knows we are free and fair people who however abhor impunity and open rape on justice. We shall not take this!
“In this instance, injustice stares us in the face and we are about being treated like slaves and a conquered people in our own country.
“INEC is being forced to subvert its processes, and imperil the Ondo election. The team it sent to Edo, which it is sending to Ondo, is peopled by rabid supporters of APC who have displayed their brazen disdain for justice and fair play in the Edo election.”