ABUJA—A group, the Democratic Values Initiative has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to resolve the puzzle surrounding the form submission of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate in the Ondo State’s October 20 governorship election, Rotimi Akeredolu.
The group said it has become imperative for INEC to clear itself of any complicity in the matter especially when its image maker, Kayode Idowu has been identified as a loyalist of the ACN leadership whose loyalty had before now fetched him a job at The Nation newspaper.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by its Publicity Secretary, Godwin Shari, the group said it has been following with keen interest the unfolding drama and the controversy surrounding the form submission issue of the ACN candidate.
“It took a text message sent by Akeredolu, late Saturday evening, to dispel rumours about the party not meeting the deadline given by INEC. Reports in some newspapers on Sunday had detailed how reporters met brick walls while trying to confirm whether or not the ACN was able to submit the INEC forms before the rumoured August 15 submission date.
“It was reported that neither Akeredolu nor the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Mr. Akin Orebiyi, offered any explanation,” the statement read in part.
The group said it viewed strongly however, a text message from Akeredolu late Saturday evening which noted that his party still had up till Monday, August 20, to submit the forms which will confirm the party’s readiness to participate in the poll.
Registering its curiosity at the twist in the development, the group said “we were however curious when a statement by the Akeredolu Campaign Organisation signed by the Media Director, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, on Sunday announced that the ACN candidate had indeed submitted the forms.
“We therefore demand that INEC should speak up on this issue in order to confirm its integrity and neutrality towards the poll in the state. First INEC should tell the whole World whether or not Akeredolu, which the commission had, as at Saturday, reminded about the October 20 submission deadline on Saturday, had actually submitted the forms.
We also wish to know whether Akeredolu could submit the forms on Monday knowing full well that INEC staff would not be on duty on that day. Another aspect that INEC should clarify is whether or not the ACN could submit uncompleted forms because very crucial information which has to do with the deputy governorship candidate would be missing.
Seeks clarification from INEC
“We demand that in case the Ondo REC would not be willing to talk, the INEC image makers at the headquarters in Abuja, Mr. Kayode Idowu, who was a former editor with The Nation newspapers, owned by the ACN national leader, should clarify the issue at hand,” the statement added.