Don’t Support Illegality, Reject Name Of Candidate Without Valid Primaries – Reps’ Member, Ojerinde To INEC

The Oyo state chapter of APC and National Electoral Commission, INEC, should not take the country back to inglorious days, when impunity reigned, by imputing the names of someone who was not declared winner through a proper and validly electoral process in the just concluded political parties’ primaries in Irepo, Oorelope, Olorunsogo Federal Constituency of Oyo state.

Olumide Ojerinde, incumbent lawmaker representing the constituency, said that all parties including APC should be guided by the Electoral Act to avoid external manipulations by anti-democratic elements.

”We therefore reject in its totality, the fraudulent and false submissions of One Olaide Muhammad name by APC Oyo state.

“It was on record, that all aspirants were fully on ground, meanwhile INEC officials were not at the venue only for some political charlatans to be declaring themselves as the winner.

“I, Hon Olumide Ojerinde, hereby challenge the self acclaimed winner to answer the following questions: Who are the delegates? Who monitored the elections? What are the indices used to declare yourself winner? APC Oyo state should please thread with caution so as not to scatter the house we all laboured to build.

“Olaide Muhammad name was said to have surreptitiously appeared on INEC’s portals as House of Representative candidate when all the aspirants and party delegates reportedly did not participate in primary election. For anyone to emerge as a candidate, it must be based on the provisions of the Electoral Act; the person must have participated in a primary. It said an aspirant must have purchased the expression of interest form for the House of Representative election and be screened, adding that by the provisions of Section 33 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the monitoring by INEC is mandatory by law.

“To that extent, any primary election of a political party not monitored by officials of INEC is illegal. Mr Olaide Muhammad, we put it to you, who monitored the primary elections in Igbeti? Also, Section: 84 (13) unequivocally provides that “Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue”. Meaning the legal implication of the provision is that INEC shall not include the candidate for the particular election.

“Furthermore, Section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which provides for the submission of lists of candidates and their affidavits by political parties states that “Every political party shall, not later than 180 days before the date appointed for a general election under this Act, submit to the Commission, in the prescribed Forms, the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections, who must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political party”. This means that section 29(1) thereof has imposed a duty on political parties to ensure that the candidates whose names are submitted to INEC have emerged from valid primaries. Mr Olaide Muhammad can you please tell us how you emerged?

“This position is quite different from the provision in Section 31 of the repealed Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provided that INEC could not reject the name of any candidate submitted by the parties for any reason whatsoever”. Thus, in the present law, the parties can only submit for the Commission’s acceptance the names of candidates who emerged from valid primaries conducted by the parties and monitored by INEC. This position is clearly fortified by Section 84(13).

“INEC having sent a team of monitors across its 36 States offices and the Federal Capital Territory, to monitor the primaries, is legally obligated to check the names submitted to it and ensure they are confirmed by the various reports compiled by its officials. “If the candidates whose names are submitted to INEC have not emerged from the primaries, the Commission will reject such names in exercise of its power under Section 84(13) of the Electoral Act 2022.”

“We are aware as we approach the threshold of the 2023 general elections, that there have been a lot of scheming, plotting, and power play at different levels of the politics and APC is not an exception. What every true lover of Irepo, Oorelope, Olorunsogo should know is this; there’s a grave plot to not only undermine but completely scheme out and relegate Hon Olumide Ojerinde, especially from the APC stakeholders to the background. And it’s very unfortunate that this plot is being executed with the connivance of some supposedly major power players and key political office holders and stakeholders.

“What played out in the primary elections of the APC despite the fact that elections were not held and one aspirant was declared winner should be an eye opener and a clear indication to us that all is not well and it is high time they called themselves together and put their house in order. They should get it clear that the race was not all about Olumide Ojerinde, but about the corporate political interest and survival of the success stories of our Federal Constituency now and in the future.

“The clouds have gathered and it is about to rain and this rain shall fall on every roof, both the high and low, the weak and the strong. We pitied those busy celebrating the emergence of Olaide Muhammad as APC’s flag bearer. In case you don’t know, all the six aspirants from APC are still very much around to ascertain and confirm the true picture of our claims. Some stakeholders are seriously strategically positioning Hon Olumide Ojerinde to return for second term.

“In order to exhaust all available options, we are calling for the need to have a grand alliance across party lines, especially with the recent happenings in the Oyo state APC. We warned that there would be a protest vote against APC in the state if the party leadership is still bent on this impunity.”

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