…Makarfi faction rejects, calls for cancellation of election, heads to tribunal
Chris Steven, Abuja
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) on Monday said that the party lost Ondo state governorship election to All Progressives Congress (APC) because of impunity and lack of respect for the party’s Constitution.
This was as Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party rejected the outcome of the election, called for cancellation and accused Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of complicity.
Speaking at a press conference, Sheriff’s deputy, Cairo Ojougboh traced the crisis in PDP to governor Mimiko’s highhandedness in imposing candidates on the party.
According to him, the genesis of impunity in PDP first manifested in 2011 general elections when the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) defeated the PDP in Nasarawa State even though the party had a sitting governor.
He said: “This was the first warning against impunity. It was ignored. Then in 2015 we had governors in Benue, Kogi, Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Bauchi and Adamawa. We lost in all these states for a common reason, the governors were not unpopular but they imposed their surrogates and the people voted them out. We paid for impunity.
“An analysis of the 2015 general election shows that the entire 10 states above are in the North. The South-south would not have survived if President (Goodluck) Jonathan did not hail from the region. Of course the figures that emanated from the South-east were abysmal.”
Speaking on the crisis in Ondo, which eventually led to PDP losing the state to APC, Ojougboh traced the crisis to when Mimiko returned to the party in 2014, resulting in mass exodus of PDP members from the party.
He said: “All the PDP members led by Olusola Oke left the PDP for him. In choosing a candidate to succeed him, he did not allow the PDP members to buy forms. He mainly anointed Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) who was returned unopposed.
“Party members cried to the high heavens that Jegede is from the Central zone where Mimiko hails from. Their cries fell on deaf ears.
“On the other hand, the authentic primary was conducted where six participants were involved and Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim emerged. Jimoh hails from the South. He campaigned vigorously and convinced the people to vote for him. But alas, Mimiko will not allow him carry the party flag. Mimiko used the instrumentality of state government to overwhelm Jimoh but could not overwhelm the masses and voters. Of course the result is out there for all to see.”
Reacting to the election, in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, PDP said that the election was manipulated in favour of the APC candidate.
PDP said: “The election and all actions leading to it fall short of laid down principles guiding conduct of elections in Nigeria.”
The party said it has instructed its candidate and the Ondo state chapter of the party to proceed to the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.
It described the outcome of the election as declared by Professor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali, the INEC Chief Returning Officer as a charade, and said it was not the true reflection of the will of the people of Ondo State.
It said: “INEC has however graduated from inconclusive elections as seen in Kogi, Bayelsa, Osun, FCT, Imo, Nassarawa and some other previous by-elections in the country to ‘advanced election rigging’, as in the case of Edo and Ondo States gubernatorial elections.
“It is common knowledge that the APC agents openly bought votes of the electorate in the full glare of security operatives who did nothing to prevent such dastardly violation of the electoral law. It is not surprising that the electorate in Ondo State became so vulnerable to the corruptive influence of the APC because of the hash economic situation in the country inflicted on Nigerians by the APC administration which has indeed made all Nigerians virtually beggars in their own country.”
The party said that it had persistently called for the postponement of the election for at least two weeks to enable it campaign and prepare properly for the election as a result of the setback orchestrated by court order but it was rejected.
It regretted that the actions of INEC in collaboration with the APC led administration did not allow it enough time to campaign and sell its candidate and manifesto to Ondo people, despite the fact that 20 other political parties supported its call for the postponement of the election.
Accusing INEC of acting the script of the APC, PDP said, “it was a carefully planned and well-orchestrated strategy to rig the election well in advance by preventing the PDP from planning and campaigning for the election. The APC has hereby introduced a new formula for rigging election in Nigeria.
“In view of the fact that the election was blatantly manipulated from the beginning to the end to favour the APC, we vehemently reject the results of the November 26, 2016 gubernatorial election in Ondo State.
“We call on the judiciary to redeem Nigeria’s image on this matter as we request for the total cancellation of the election in Ondo State.”
The party, however congratulated its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede and the party in Ondo State for the gallant performance at the poll.