The National Conscience Party (NCP) and its flag-bearer in the just concluded governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Peters Osawaru Omoragbon have called for the cancellation of the entire process that produced governor Godwin Obaseki as winner.
Daily Times reports that this call is coming few days after Obaseki received his Certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Omoragbon who was reacting to the outcome of the polls in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists accused INEC of regarding a valid judgement of the Court of Appeal by going ahead to conduct the election without re-listing the NCP in the register of political parties.
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According to Omoragbon, the illegal exclusion of his party’s logo and name on the ballot by the electoral umpire was an abuse of court process and total disregard to the rule of law.
He said, “the action of INEC is a reflection of the actions of the ruling class towards obeying court rulings.
“INEC would again be shooting itself on the legs by going ahead with the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State, when there was a subsisting ruling of the appeal court to reinstate the de-registered political parties including the NCP.
“That was an abuse of court process and total disregard to the rule of law. By not appealing that judgement of August 10, 2020, or asking for a stay of execution and still went ahead with the September 19 2020, INEC is doomed to fail at the Supreme Court.
“Come October 13, 2020, the court case between the NCP and the INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation over the illegal exclusion of my candidacy in the just concluded Edo 2020 governorship elections and unconstitutional de-registration will be heard. In the worst-case scenario, the matter may probably end up at the Supreme Court just as it did in 2002 and we are sure of victory. If and when the Court upholds our argument, INEC will be left with no choice than to conduct a fresh election to include my Party and other political parties that were illegally excluded”.
While objecting to the general view that the Commission had overseen a free and fair election in Edo State, Omoragbon added that INEC does not have the interest of the Nigerian people at heart but to serve its masters in APC and PDP.
He therefore called for the disqualification and prosecution of Governor Obaseki for allegedly breaching Section 118 (I)(d) of the Electoral Act 2010 by filling the nomination paper of more than one political party.
“Section 118 (I)(d) of the 2010 Electoral Act stipulates that: A person who signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election is not only to be disqualified but liable on conviction to maximum term imprisonment for two years.
“It is global knowledge that Godwin Obaseki submitted himself for the 2020 governorship election first under the All Progressive Congress (APC) and thereafter after being disqualified in the APC moved to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and had his way in as their candidate.
“What this means is that Godwin Obaseki presented himself as a candidate in two different political parties in the same election and same year”, he added.
He advised Governor Obaseki to ‘honourably resign with his dignity and honour still intact’, rather than to be ‘sacked by the court and made to face the possibility of a two-year jail term’ for breaching the electoral act.
It could be recalled that INEC had in February de-registered 74 political parties, among which was the NCP.
However, a Federal High court in May subsequently validated the decision of the Commission.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Abuja on August 10, in a unanimous ruling by a three-man panel presided over by its president, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, overruled the electoral commission’s de-registration of the political parties.