Mimiko passes no confidence vote on INEC
AS Ondo people go to the polls to elect a new state executive governor today, Governor Olusegun Mimiko yesterday passed a vote-of-no-confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and vowed that the people would resist any attempt to subvert the electoral process.
Mimiko who spoke at a world press conference in the state capital, Akure, faulted the actions of the electoral commission and its subsequent refusal to shift the polls. He also accused INEC of deploying the same team of election ad hoc staff, whom he alleged of “masterminding Edo election” to deliver a preconceived result for the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Talking tough, Mimiko warned the commission against manipulation while calling on Nigerians to hold those who want to subvert the electoral system responsible for any negative development that may attend the planned rigging of the election.
But the INEC in a swift reaction dismissed the allegation of partisanship levelled against it by Governor Mimiko, saying it has no interest in today’s governorship election in the state. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the State, Segun Agbaje, in his reaction maintained that the commission is not protecting the interest of any group or party contesting the election and so has no basis to be partisan.
While enjoining the electorate to guard their votes and resist any attempt to subvert the will of the people, Mimiko said Ondo indigenes are free and fair people, but would not accept being treated as slaves and conquered people in their land. The governor specifically accused the electoral commission of flouting the existing laws governing its operations, by preventing the emergence of a credible and electable candidate for the PDP in the state.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, this ungodly process started when INEC, in flagrant disregard of extant laws governing elections, removed the name of Eyitayo Jegede on the basis of a Justice Okon Abang order that has since been declared as a fraud by the Supreme Court. We wondered 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 people not known to law and logic represented INEC itself, with another from a process that is illegal, and 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, Jegede, to the extent that he did not become a candidate until about 48 hours to election, on the directive of the Court of Appeal. INEC did not release the list of voters register to the PDP until Thursday in clear infraction of its own laws and against its advertised time-table and schedule of activities for the Ondo election”.
While reeling out the many flaws of the commission, Mimiko said INEC refused to publish Jegede’s name for 30 days as stipulated in Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010. Besides, he alleged that the commission denied 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.
“As we speak, collation tags for Ward Collation officers are not available for PDP Ward agents, 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. We were expected to run a race with our hands tied behind our back while INEC also goes ahead to foist a “wuruwuru to the answer” result.
“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. If INEC were to be truly objective, it would have at least erred on the side of caution and safe Ondo from the polluting influence of this ad hoc team.
“We reject unequivocally the mission of the ad hoc staff from Edo who not only called off collation by 9: 00pm on election day; party agents, monitors and journalists were also ordered out of the collation centres allowing for final subversion of the will of the electorate.”
“We will not accept any infringement on our rights by INEC. How does a candidate raise money for election within 48 hours? Why the stubborn insistence by the electoral commission on going ahead with the election when it still has till January 2017? We shall not take any open rape to justice, INEC and its agents are treating us as slaves and conquered people in our country and we shall resist it.
“INEC is being forced to subvert its own process, INEC should have shifted the poll in the interest of fairness, if the commission decided to obey fraud, does it not have the moral burden to assuage the feelings of those injured, INEC is playing towards a determined end.”
Mimiko warned that the electorate in Ondo State would resist such electoral manipulation and ungodly process. He also called on the people of the state to be vigilant and insist on the sanctity of the ballot, warning them not to allow any alteration of results either at the Ward or local government level.
“We are a proud people, we can make our choices for the good of our State. We need no manipulation of any kind to exercise our inalienable right to choose our leaders. We also do not want anything to remind us of the inglorious past of violence and bloodshed precipitated by injustice and impunity.
“As we make the sacred choice of electing a worthy person into the seat of Governor in our State, we must exercise the greatest level of diligence and vigilance. I urge you all to vote and defend your votes. Your vote is your power, use it wisely and protect it jealously,” he urged the people of Ondo.
On his part, the REC who spoke with reporters at the state headquarters of the commission, said: “I don’t know any of the candidates contesting the election. I don’t know Rotimi Akeredolu, neither do I know Olusola Oke or Eyitayo Jegede. I am not from Ondo State and I have nothing to gain if the election is rigged.”
Reminding all that INEC is an unbiased umpire with no preference for any political party, the commission’s boss clarified that the problem confronting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was an internal crisis, which was not sufficient enough to justify the postponement of an election.
He said: “INEC is a neutral umpire, all we want is a transparent election. We are very impartial, having sworn to the oath of neutrality. Any official of the commission caught in any untoward act will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
The REC insisted that the commission was prepared for the election, having distributed both the sensitive and non-sensitive materials to all the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
“PDP ought to have put its house in order long before now. Should the 26 other political parties participating in the election share in the problem of one party? If a footballer is injured will the match be postponed because of that? How can one single political party put us to ransom?” he queried.
Agbaje expressed concern over the allegations made by Mimiko saying as the Chief Security Officer of the state, he was expected to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony and not making statements capable of heating up the polity. “He is complaining about Jegede whose agents had already collected necessary materials from us,” Agbaje said.
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