…Your statement is ungodly – INEC Replies
Chris Steven, Abuja
Ahead of Ondo state governorship election, the factional candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jimoh Ibrahim on Sunday alleged that an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanded $1 million bribe from him to enlist his name as a candidate despite a recent court judgment which certified his candidacy.
Ibrahim, in a press conference in Abuja also alleged that the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Ondo is a card carrying member of PDP that should not be trusted to conduct a free and fair election in the state and has, however demanded for his removal.
Ibrahim, in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, made available to journalists alleged that INEC Acting Legal Adviser, Mrs. O.O Babalola demanded for one million dollars before obeying court judgement over Ondo election.
He also said that he has reported the issue to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.
The petition dated October 21 reads in part: “This petition is written to inform your Excellency of the demand made by one Mr. O.O Babalola of INEC for the payment of one million US dollars before she will obey a court judgement marked exhibit A attached.”
According to him, the electoral body had said it will obey the court judgement immediately it served, however, he said immediately INEC was served the judgement, the music changed.
“After the service, the music changed. INEC should not allow one governor to destroy its reputation. We are not saying that INEC will not obey the court judgement. One of the officials demanded for one million dollar bribe from me to process the court judgement. I said I don’t have. We are in a country and not a Banana Republic, we must obey the court judgment,” he said.
Ibrahim, a member of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff’s is contesting the candidacy of the party with Eyitayo Jegede from Sen. Ahmed Makarfi’s faction.
He insisted that he remains the authentic candidate of PDP in the election, adding that INEC is not an Appeal Court, therefore cannot determine who is the PDP candidate in the election.
In a swift reaction to Ibrahim’s allegation, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi said “it is not true that Mrs. Babalola demanded one million dollar bribe from Jimoh Ibrahim.
Two other officials of INEC witnessed the encounter between Mrs. Babalola and Jimoh Ibrahim. Jimoh Ibrahim brought a copy of his judgement and wanted to impress it on INEC to collect it. But we told him that we already have it. It is uncharitable and ungodly of a businessman of his stature to make this kind of allegation.”