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Edo 2024: Do not to succumb to political pressure, Catalyst Committee charges INEC, judiciary

…As INEC chair asks Security Agencies to halt violent attacks during campaigns

…Cautions against intimidation, use of incumbency power


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the judiciary has been asked not to succumb to political pressure, but to adhere to the rule of law and the Electoral Act as amended in 2022.


Catalyst Committee, a pressure group within the Labour Party (LP), made the call against the backdrop of a legal case brought by a governorship aspirant in the party, Mr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, against the candidacy of Mr. Olumide Akpata.

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

In the statement, made available to the press in Benin on Thursday, the group emphasized that only when justice was served on the matter could democracy be deepened in the country.

The group also warned that any attempt by the electoral body to change the rules would create disruption in the nation’s political system, eroding completely the confidence of INEC in the eyes of the people.

Imansuangbon had taken the LP candidate to the Federal High Courts in Abuja and Benin seeking an interpretation of the constitution regarding Akpata’s emergence as the party’s candidate.

Imasuagbon alleged that Akpata was not fit to have participated in the primary or be declared the party’s candidate due to issues related to providing false information and dual citizenship, among others.

He pointed out that these issues not only breached the party and INEC guidelines but also contravened the country’s constitution.

The group emphasized, “INEC should understand that Olumide Akpata is not the only one in the contest, but there are 16 other gubernatorial aspirants. Therefore, INEC and the judiciary cannot afford to be seen changing the rules in violation of clear guidelines and the rule of law.

“The integrity of INEC and the judiciary is at stake, not just the issue of Olumide, but the issue of democracy and the rule of law in Edo State, because the other 16 political parties will not sit idly by while someone boasts of changing the rules.

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

“It must be emphasized that failure to obey the law is a clear ground for disqualification. So, nobody should pamper any candidate who has deliberately violated the provisions of the electoral laws or INEC guidelines.

“Whoever disobeys the law faces consequences, and that is why Kenneth Imansuangbon has gone to court to rescue the party.

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

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

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has appealed to security agencies to halt violent attacks during campaigns ahead of the Edo State Governorship elections in the state.

Speaking on Thursday at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), the INEC Chairman also warned against “the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities such as Radio and Television stations, public buildings for campaigns and rallies or even outdoor advertising through the imposition of excessive fees and levies often result in the breach of the peace.

“These actions, including the mutual destruction of campaign materials and facilities, violate the provisions of Sections 91 to 97 of the Electoral Act 2022. The security agencies have a duty to ensure the enforcement of the law.”

The INEC Chairman who informed the gathering of security Chiefs of his Commission plan to reopen Continuous Voters Registration in Edo state ahead of the September elections equally appealed to them to give protection to “registrants, registration personnel, equipment, observers and journalists that will cover the exercise.

“There are two activities relating to the forthcoming Governorship elections that we need to draw your attention to.

“First is the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in the two States that will enable eligible citizens who are not registered voters to do so. Similarly, those who are registered voters will also have the opportunity to transfer their registration from other States of the Federation to Edo and Ondo States or from one location to another within the States.

“Complaints about lost or damaged voters’ cards will be considered during the registration period. The CVR will take place simultaneously in the two States from Monday 27th May 2024 to Wednesday 5th June 2024 from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily including the weekend. During the period, uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from previous registrations in the two States will also be available for collection by registered voters.

“The CVR will take place at Ward level and our state headquarters. This means that there will be 192 Ward registration centres in Edo State and 203 centres in Ondo State in addition to our State offices in Benin City and Akure, making a total of 397 registration centres in the two States. Each centre will be managed by two officials drawn from our regular staff and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

“We need security protection for the registrants, registration personnel, equipment, observers and journalists that will cover the exercise.”


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