LP Group Tasks INEC, Judiciary On Electoral Act, Rule Of Law

Austin FC

A pressure group within the Edo State chapter of Labour Party (LP), Catalyst Committee, has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Judiciary not to succumb to political pressures, rather, they should show conformity to the rule of law and the Electoral Act as amended in 2022.

The group made the call against the
backdrop of the legal challenge instituted by an LP governorship aspirant, Barr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, against the candidacy of Olumide Akpata in Edo State.

In a statement by the coordinator of the group, Dr. Abel Oarhe, the Catalyst Committee noted that the call became necessary as some “money bags” were allegedly out to ensure that justice was not served and thereby subverting the will of the people.

In the statement made available to journalists in Benin City on Thursday, the group pointed out that it is only when justice is served on the governorship candidacy dispute that democracy can be deepened in the country.

It also warned that any attempt by the electoral body to shift the goal post will create disruption in the nation’s political system, thereby eroding completely the confidence reposed in INEC in the eyes of the people.

Recall that Imansuangbon had dragged the LP governorship candidate Akpata to the Federal High Courts in Abuja and Benin City, seeking interpretation of the Constitution as regards the emergence of Akpata as the party’s governorship candidate in Edo State.

Imasuagbon had alleged that Akpata was not fit to have participated in the LP primary election as a result of the issue bordering on the provision of false information and dual citizenship, among others.

He pointed out that the issues in question did not only breach the party and INEC guidelines, but also contravene the country’s 1999 constitution (as amended).

The group, therefore, pointed out that, “INEC should know that Olumide Akpata is not the only one that is in the contest but there are other 16 gubernatorial candidates in the contest.

“Therefore, INEC and the judiciary cannot afford to be seen shifting the goal post in violation of the clear guideline and rule of law.

“The integrity of INEC and Judiciary is at stake not just about the issue of Olumide but issue of democracy and rule of law in Edo State because the other 16 political parties will not fold their arms because someone is boasting to shift the goal post.

“It is sacrosanct to note that obedience to the rule of law is part of the requirement to contest an election.

“It must be emphasised that inability to obey the law is a clear ground for disqualification. So nobody should pamper any candidate who has deliberately violated the provision of the electoral laws or INEC guideline.

“Whoever disobeys the law, the consequences are there and it should be applied and that is why Kenneth Imansuangbon has gone to court to rescue the party.

“INEC must be very careful that Nigerians are not too happy but should always seize the opportunity to redeem their image when such opportunity comes up by ensuring that the law is strictly followed.

“The Judiciary and INEC should know that the people are watching and it is not about Olumide of Labour Party but the entire process.”

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