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Protesters barricade INEC’s office over choice of PDP candidate

By Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure
02 November 2016   |   4:17 am
Protesters yesterday barricaded the state Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding the reinstatement of Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP’s candidate.
Mr. Eyitayo Jegede

Mr. Eyitayo Jegede

•Stakeholders urge commission to reverse decision
•Allege it is a threat to democracy

Protesters yesterday barricaded the state Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding the reinstatement of Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP’s candidate.

The protesters, mainly women from across the state, chanted solidarity songs as they displayed several placards.Some of the placards read: “Eyi remains our candidate,” “Jimoh Ibrahim is being used to destabilise the PDP,” “Where did Jimoh Ibrahim conduct his primary,” “INEC, give us our mandate.”

The women went hysterical as they turned their backs against each other to rain curses on whoever was behind the plot to reverse the party’s candidacy.

One of the women leaders, Mrs. Funmilola Oluwadare, urged the INEC to recognise the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who was duly elected by the party delegates.She added that Ibrahim was not a bonafide member of the party.

She warned that what happened in the state in 1983 should not be allowed to repeat itself because women and children would suffer if such anarchy was allowed to recur.

The Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force, Olatoye Durosinmi, who led other security agencies, dispersed them peacefully while appealing for calm.

Also, the PDP leaders in the state have urged the judiciary not to make mockery of itself, warning the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to back out of the PDP crisis.

A former ambassador to Greece, Prof. Olu Agbi, who spoke on behalf of the leaders, said they had been monitoring the chain of events in the state.“Generally, it is the prerogative of the political parties to nominate their gubernatorial candidates. We have not seen in the history of the country where a court would order parties to accept a candidate

“It is a deliberate attempt to destroy the peace and progress that we have been enjoying in the state in the last seven and half years,” he said.Meanwhile a coalition of pro-democracy groups has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reverse its decision to publish Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The groups, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIMA) and Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) said “INEC is now a threat to democracy.”

The coalition said it was worrisome that Ibrahim was published as the candidate shortly after he accused the commission of demanding a $1million bribe from him.

A statement by HURIMA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the commission’s obedience of the court ruling on Ibrahim was suspicious.

Also, CDNDC said in a statement by its co-convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, that INEC may be “doing the bidding of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of 2019 general elections, which would create an instability in the polity and disrupt the electoral process.”

It described INEC’s handling of the authentic governorship candidate as “callous and evil,” warning that the general election in 2019 may be questionable.

The statement reads: “We are worried that INEC could work against itself by ditching a primary which it monitored in Akure and enlist a stranger who emerged in another primary held in far-away Ibadan, Oyo State, which it never observed.”

The pro-democracy groups urged the commission not to fall to cheap blackmail or take instructions from outside to undermine its independence.

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