Written by David LAWANI

APC Rejects INEC Issuance of Certificates of Return to Diri, Ewhrujakpo of PDP






The National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Adams Aliu Oshiomhole has said the party rejects INEC issuance of certificate of return to the PDP candidate, Diri and his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrujakpo.

Oshiomhole made this disclosure in a briefing with journalists at the APC national headquarters in Abuja noting that INEC cannot appropriate the powers of the judiciary to itself.

According to him: " For good reasons the supreme court gave a conditional order which is that INEC should swear in the second candidate with the highest number of votes and the required constitutional spread. I believe the fact that the supreme court insisted on the constitutional spread is in recognition that the constitution doesnt want anyone whether governor or president preside over the affairs of the state without at least enjoying two third of the support of the electorates of that state.

" Clearly, the votes scored by the the PDP and their candidate in that election only met the requirements in five local government councils. And, you need six LGAs to meet the requirements of two third. The PDP candidate did not satisfy this requirement.

" INEC has now chosen to appropriate the power of the court, judicial power to interpret laws that it is neither competent to do nor does it have the mandate so to do. Rather than allow the court if there is conflicting interpretation to clarify the issues, INEC sort to appropriate judicial powers and choose to proceed without any express order from the supreme court to purport to have cancel or voided, or waste the votes casted in favour of APC in order to be able to have a dubious spread in favour of PDP.

"INEC failed to recognise that its responsibility does not include legal interpretation. And, the supreme court did not ask INEC to go and begin to assume judicial powers. All they had to do was simple arithmetic of who has the highest votes".

He however reiterated that the PDP candidate did not satisfy the requirement of the constitution therefore he couldn't have issued the candidate the certificate which will amount to usurping the power of the judiciary.

" Does such person have the required spread? If the answer is no. INEC can do no more. It has decided to now assume that the case of Bayelsa is exactly the same case as that of Zamfara. Now, in so doing, INEC has assumed judicial powers. Yet, even elementary 100 level student know that the issue in Zamfara is quite different that of Bayelsa state.

" In Zamfara state the supreme court said APC didn't conduct primary and since we didn't conduct primary according to supreme court, we could not have had candidate. Because primary is a requirement under the law and under the electoral act and under our party constitution"', he said.

Continuing, he said: " In the case of Bayelsa, the supreme court recognise that primaries have been conduct. It upheld those primary as valid. However, it had issues with the qualification of the running mate of our candidate. This case is exactly the same as that of Adamu Muazu in 1999 in Bauchi state when the court found out that after the election, the deputy governor to Adamu Muazu had issues with his qualifications.

" The supreme court accordingly nullify the candidature or disqualified the running mate proceeded to nullify the election and ordered for fresh elections to be conducted by INEC within 90 days. The PDP candidate Adamu Muazu was allowed to nominate another candidate as a running mate. This is exactly the same case in Bayelsa but unfortunately INEC has chosen appropriate the powers of the judiciary to itself".

The APC chairman said further that it was not the intention of the supreme court to nullify the votes casted in favour of party.

"If it were the intention of the Supreme Court to nullify or to declare the votes casted in favour of APC as wasted, the Supreme Court should have said so. INEC can not import into the judgement or delete anything into judgement. We have of course recognised that having now purported to have issue Certificate of Return to the PDP, we still believe that there are viable legal windows that we will explore.

" We still affirm our confidence in the judiciary even with the pains in our hearts because we still recognize that in a democracy we just can have judiciary that gives judgement that sometimes you are happy with and some other times you are not happy. What we quarrel with today is not the judgement of Supreme Court. What we got aggrieved is the attempt by INEC constitute itself into a Court and appropriate judicial powers which the Constitution of Nigeria never vested in INEC.

" So we want to put the people of Nigeria on notice and in particular our people in Bayelsa to maintain the peace. We will however sustain the legal processes to ensure that nobody hide under any judicial power to impose minority votes in Bayelsa State Democracy is a game of numbers. It could not have been the intention of the Supreme Court that the man who did not have the spread be sworn-in as a Governor. That was why the Supreme Court made that conditional provision and INEC come in now declared somebody that did not meet that condition.

" INEC itself is in contempt of the decision of the Supreme Court. We are going do everything to deploy every legal means to upturn the imposition by INEC that intend to weakened and destroy the fabrics of democracy. Briefly put, we are going to Court and we will seek legal redress", he stated.








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