Two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State have continued to mount pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognise their candidates. The factions are making the demand ahead of the election that will hold next month. Factions of the embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and that of the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Wednesday insisted that their candidates must be recognised, even though the electoral laws recognised one candidates per political party.
This demand is coming barely 24 hours to when INEC said it would publish the names of candidates vying for the governorship seat. Supporters of Senator Sheriff, led by Professor Wale Oladipo, held a conference on Wednesday where they made the demand while those loyal to the Ahmed Makarfi led by Onoja King, also insisted that INEC must recognise their own candidate.
Dangerous For Democracy
Meanwhile, INEC has described the situation as very unfortunate and dangerous for democracy. Earlier on Tuesday, at a meeting with members of the civil society groups, the INEC Director for Voters Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, expressed concern over the development, describing the situation as dangerous for democracy.
Although the electoral body is yet to publish the list of candidates in the governorship election, political watchers are watching whether the electoral body will be swayed by the pressures from these groups. On October 14, a faction of the party asked members and supporters to disregard a High Court judgement that declared Mr Jimoh Ibrahim the party’s candidate for the state’s governorship election.
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr Banji Okunomo, the PDP stated that its governorship candidate could only emerge through a due process in consonance with the constitution of the party.
The party believes that its governorship candidate can never be produced through the back door or some unconstitutional procedures.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has made it clear that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of a party could nominate the governorship candidate.
This was done in the nomination of Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). As such, no High Court can invalidate or alter this position which is clearly defined by the highest ruling court in Nigeria, the party said.
The PDP allayed fears of party members, saying appropriate steps were already being taken to quash what it called an “obnoxious and baseless ruling, referring to the judgement of the court.
With the disagreement continuing, it appears the party has not addressed the situation.