The All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken concrete actions to ensure that all the candidates in the Aug. 9th 2014 governorship election in Osun State are provided with a level playing field and that the election is free, fair, transparent and devoid of harassment and intimidation.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it had challenged in court the powers of the President to deploy troops to Osun State for the election and the power of the Inspector-General of Police to impose a curfew on any part of the state during the election.
It also said the party had written to INEC to demand a postponement of the election if the electoral commission cannot guarantee that all registered voters will be given their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) before voting day or in the alternative allow all registered members in possession of INEC temporary voters card to cast their votes in the election.
APC said the actions are aimed at avoiding a repeat of the massive harassment, intimidation and arrest of opposition politicians witnessed during the Ekiti governorship election, and to prevent any illegal lock down of Osun State, which turned out to be a ploy to pigeon-hole opposition politicians while allowing PDP members to move around freely during the Ekiti polls.
The party said the letter to INEC followed concerns expressed by APC members in Osun that they have so far been denied their PVCs under shady circumstances, a development that could be a ploy to massively disenfranchise APC members and rig the election at source
”In the first case filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos on July 15th 2014, we are seeking, among others, ‘a declaration that by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), it is ultra vires for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deploy members of the armed forces to Osun state for the purpose of the conduct of the gubernatorial election scheduled for Aug. 9th 2014’.
”In the second case, also filed at the same court on July 17th 2014, we are seeking, among other reliefs, ‘a declaration that by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), and the Curfew Law of Osun State, CAP 36, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2001, it is ultra vires for the Inspector General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to impose curfew on any part of Osun State during the conduct of the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on Aug. 9th, 2014, or at any time whatsoever in any part of Nigeria’.
”The actions have reinforced the credentials of our party as law abiding and peaceful. Instead of resorting to self help, as many would have done in the face of the many underhand tactics by the PDP-led federal government to stifle the opposition and skew the conditions in favour of the ruling party, we decided to embark on a legal challenge of the unlawful actions of the government.
”We are not seeking any favour beyond that all candidates in the election be allowed to have a level playing field, for all registered voters to be able to cast their votes in an atmosphere devoid of violence, harassment and intimidation, and for the election itself to be conducted in substantial compliance with the law,” it said.
APC said popular participation is at the core of democratic governance, hence a development in which registered voters, most of them from the opposition, will not be allowed to vote based on the incompetence of the electoral authorities is anti-democratic.
”That is why we have written to INEC to allow duly registered voters to exercise their franchise on Aug. 9th, whether or not they have PVCs or temporary voters cards. If this is not possible, INEC should consider postponing the election until such a time that not one voter will be disenfranchised due to the incompetence, collusion or shenanigans of INEC,” the party said.
It warned that the Osun governorship election must not just be free, fair and transparent, it must been seen to be so by all stakeholders.