Posted by News Express | 30 June 2013 | 4,267 times
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorshp aspirant, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has taken the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to task over the commission’s position on the fate of Osun State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Oluwatoyin Akeju.
Omisore in a statement issued yesterday evening insisted on the re-organisation of INEC leadership in Osun State. He lambasted INEC and Jega for denying the existence of a subsisting court order stopping Akeju from presiding over the 2011 general elections in the state that produced Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigera (ACN) as governor. Below is the text of the statement entitled “INEC lied over Osun REC –Senator Omisore” and signed by Victor Oriola, Media Adviser to Iyiola Omisore Campaign Organisation:
The attention of Iyiola Omisore Campaign Organization has been drawn to a statement from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) denying the existence of a subsisting court order stopping the commission from recognizing the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr Oluwatoyin Akeju as REC and barring the said REC from presiding over 2011 General elections in the state.
The commission’s statement was a direct response to calls by Senator Iyiola Omisore for the re-organization of INEC leadership in Osun State in the interest of natural justice and in obedience to a court order. Our first feeling is that it is either Prof Jega is not properly briefed by the Commission’s legal department or there is a grand conspiracy by the commission leadership to subvert the will of the people in previous and forthcoming polls in Osun State. If none of the above applies, we are left to wonder why the commission leadership will justify its disobedience of a court order on the ground that it has appealed the ruling.
We thus need to state from the onset that INEC lied by denying existence of a subsisting court order. It again lied by not admitting that its appeal against the order is still pending. It is trite fact in law that an appeal does not and cannot constitute vacation of a validly issued order. As at today, there is no appeal ruling that has vacated the interlocutory injunction issued by Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court Osogbo on February 28th, 2011.
Justice Kuewumi had ruled on the motion on notice in suit FHC/os/cs/26/2011 that “an interlocutory order of injunction is hereby made restraining the INEC from recognizing the Mr Akeju as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun state pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons; and that ``an order is also made restraining Mr Akeju from conducting or supervising the conduct of elections as Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State.”
The judge also proceeded to specifically noted that “INEC is by this order directed to as a matter of urgent national interest to make immediate arrangements to ensure that the pending elections are not negatively affected by this development,” meaning a direct order for the replacement of Akeju before the pending elections of 2011.
We repeat that INEC lied by claiming that Justice Keuwumi had ordered a stay of proceeding or a vacation of the above order. The truth is that INEC applied for a stay of execution and this appeal is still pending in the Appeal Court. There has been no ruling on the appeal and the matter which was to come up on the 28th of this month was adjourned sine dine due to elevation of Justice Kudirat Kekere-ekun as a Supreme Court Justice.
Facts INEC is running away from are as follows:
*That it disobeyed a validly made court order by recognizing and allowing Mr. Akeju to supervise the 2011 general elections in Osun state;
*That while INEC lodged its appeal before the election, it failed to secure a stay of execution of the order. Appeal in law does not constitute a stay; and
*That the Commission is in dilemma as the PDP had approached the court after the 2011 elections seeking reliefs among which are that the election be declared null and void and a fresh election be ordered as the 2011 election was conducted in defiance of a court order.
If INEC is truly law abiding as its statement claimed, why was it difficult for the commission to simply effect change of posting for the Osun REC before the election? If the commission is an impartial umpire as it claimed, why was the REC allowed to supervise and rig the 2011 election against a subsisting court order which the commission has failed to vacate? If there was no grand design against PDP in Osun state, what is INEC interest in appealing ruling which if obeyed would have confirmed the fairness and integrity of the commission?
By admitting to have appealed against a court order stopping a card carrying member of the Action Congress of Nigeria from presiding over elections in Osun State, INEC has unwittingly confirmed its compromised status as far as Osun state is concerned. It is our solemn conviction that INEC has now openly expose its partisanship and conspiracy against the PDP by defending an A C N member serving as REC even when a court of law ruled against such action.
It is equally worrisome that Prof Jega and other commissioners are watching as the commission not only disobeyed the 2011 court order but is also proceeding to allow the same Akeju to conduct the 2014 governorship election. Mr. Akeju was a card carrying member of A C N and a former top aide of the AC N National leader. Is INEC not worried about having a biased umpire in a turbulent election year? Why is the commission deliberately aligning with those trying to subvert the will of Osun people?
We are putting it to INEC that rather than compromising so openly, the path of law and natural justice should be followed. Akeju as REC in Osun is an affront on equity and justice as well as a threat to the conduct of acceptable, free and fair elections in Osun state. Mr Akeju should and can no longer be allowed to be a referee in a match involving his boss and others.
•Photo Senator Omisore.
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