Ekiti Election: Party Vows To Sue INEC Over Disqualification Of Its Candidate

One of the political parties jostling for the governorship of Ekiti state in the July 14 election, Providence Peoples Congress, PPC, has threatened a legal action against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for disqualifying its candidate.

The party handed the threat when it addressed newsmen in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on Monday, accusing INEC of disqualifying and expunging the name of its candidate, Pastor Stephen Obasola, from the list of candidates in the election.

National Chairman of the party, Benson Adetona, told reporters that the party submitted forms CF01 and CF02 to INEC in Abuja on May 14, 2018 in compliance with the commission’s guidelines.

Adetona alleged that an official of the commission at its National Chairman’s office was playing pranks on the party by allegedly rejecting the forms on the excuses that they were not attached with forms EC4, EC5 and EC6 which he claimed were irrelevant in this case.

He claimed that when it was clear that the electoral umpire was not prepared to correct the anomaly, the PPC resorted to writing a petition addressed to the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, on May 18, to which he said no reply was received.

He said, “The fact that the name of our candidate was listed by INEC as one of the 40 contenders that were acknowledged from Ekiti office of INEC showed that our primary was free, fair and credible because our party operates like a family. There is no division.

“When we took forms CF01 and CF02 to the INEC Electoral Party Monitoring Department in Abuja, the officer detailed for the collection said they have to be attached with forms EC 4 and EC 5. But we told him the submission lapsed on May 15. He convinced us that we should not mind, that we can come on May 17 or 18, because of our peculiar situation.

“We got there on May 17 only for the same staff to reject our form. We were referred to heads of Legal Department and Electoral Party Monitoring, but nothing was done.

“We view this action as a serious infringement on our fundamental rights to have a candidate in the Ekiti election. And this was a setback to our electoral system. The election can only be deemed to be free and fair when INEC is fair to all parties.

“As things stand now, we have no option than to seek legal redress in court to ensure that our candidate participates in this election.”

However, INEC, while reacting through its Public Relations Officer in Ekiti, Mr Taiwo Gbadegesin, said it had no blame in the whole scenario, describing the situation as a self-inflicted injury.

“Submission of candidates is done by the party, so PPC executive should be blamed for submitting the name of candidate late. I want to believe that INEC as an arbiter can’t disqualify candidate without justifiable reason. PPC must look inward to settle its problems,” he said.

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