APC kicks, faults INEC over issuance of certificate of return to Diri
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has faulted the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its decision to issue Certificate of Return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in last year’s Bayelsa governorship election, Mr. Douye Diri.
APC’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who addressed journalists in Abuja, yesterday, accused INEC of usurping judicial powers by going out of its way to declare Diri winner of the poll based on the verdict of the Supreme Court.
But the PDP has called on the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to immediately arrest Oshiomhole for questioning and prosecution over alleged incitement and sedition.
The party alleged that the violence and arson perpetuated by APC members and supporters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, yesterday, was in furtherance of Oshiomhole’s inciting call that no government would be sworn in in the state, contrary to the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Oshiomhole’s statement was a direct call for sedition and violent subversion of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the statutory authority of the Supreme Court and the mandate of the people of Bayelsa state.
“He should, therefore, be pulled in immediately for prosecution for inciting violence and arson in the state.
“Nigerians can recall that our party had on Thursday cautioned Oshiomhole over his utterances and apparent plots to cause violence and a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The world, however, watched with horror as APC agents, chanting APC slogans, assaulted the people of Bayelsa State, set the PDP secretariat in the state ablaze, attacked the premises of Radio Bayelsa, vandalised vehicles and equipment, took over major highways and attacked travellers, all in the bid to violently subvert the judgment of the Supreme Court and forcefully take control of the state.”
The PDP charged the people of Bayelsa, the security agencies and Nigerians at large, to hold Oshiomhole responsible and accountable for the violence in Bayelsa and deal with him accordingly in line with the provisions of our laws.
“Oshiomhole must be brought to book and stopped from the use of garrulity and clear misuse of language to cause a crisis in our country,” the party stressed.
But Oshiomhole insisted that the APC governorship candidate, David Lyon, remained the lawfully elected governor of the state, adding that the APC would not rest on its oars until it reversed the declaration of Diri as the winner of the poll.
“The Supreme Court, for good reason, gave a conditional order that INEC should swear in the second candidate with the highest number of the vote and the required constitutional spread.
“I believe that the fact the Supreme Court insisted on the constitutional spread is a recognition of the fact that the constitution does not want a situation in which anyone, Governor or President, presides over the affairs of a state without at least enjoy two-third support of electorate of that state.
“Clearly, the votes scored by PDP and their candidate in that election was only meant requirement in five councils and you need six councils to meet the requirement of two-third.
“PDP candidate did not satisfy this requirement. INEC is now choosing to appropriate the judicial powers of the court to interpret laws that are neither competent to do nor has the mandate so to do.
“INEC fails to recognise that its responsibility does not include legal interpretation and the Supreme Court did not ask INEC to go and begin to assume the judicial powers. All that INEC needs to do is simple arithmetic, who has the next highest votes? Does such a person have a required vote spread? If the answer is no, INEC can do no more. Now INEC has decided to assume that the case of Bayelsa is exactly the same case as that of Zamfara.
“We recognise that having purported to have sworn in or issued a certificate to PDP candidate, we still believe that there are viable legal widows that we will be explored. We affirm our confidence in the judiciary, even with pains in our hearts.”
Continuing, he argued: “If it were the intention of the Supreme Court to nullify or to declare the votes cast in favour of APC as wasted, it should have said so. INEC cannot import into the judgment or delete anything into judgment.
“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 recognise that in a democracy, we just can have Judiciary that gives judgment that sometimes you are happy with and some other times you are not happy.
“What we quarrel with today is not the judgment of Supreme Court; what we got aggrieved is the attempt by INEC to 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 hides 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 cannot 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.”
On claim by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike that his position on the Bayelsa poll was incisive and capable of leading to bloodshed, he said: “Between me and my friend, who has the history of violence, don’t you know how many lives you have wasted? We have read on papers. Where were the Police and military officers beheaded, it is in Rivers. Who was the great winner of that election violence, was it not Wike?
“So, if he the one talking about violence, when did the tortoise begin the challenge the antelope in a race? Dickson, who accepted defeat in Bayelsa election, accused him of anti-party activity and I know he wants to use me to regain his lost membership of PDP.”
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