BY CHRIS OCHAYI
*Say Jega is partial, want him removed
ABUJA—The 20 political parties de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Thursday, vowed to field candidates at the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State and the Senatorial election in Ekiti State.
Operating under the aegis of Coalition of Concerned Political Parties, CCPP, the affected parties have also demanded the immediate dismissal of the commission’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, for going against provisions of the constitution.
The coalition at a briefing said that INEC must declare whose interest it was protecting by deliberately flouting the ruling of the court on party de-registration.
National Chairman of Peoples Progressive Party, PPP, Engr. Damian Ogbonna, who read out the position of the 20 parties, accused Professor Jega of having publicly exhibited partiality and disdain against many political parties in the country,
His words: “We state for the avoidance of doubt that we have lost faith in Professor Attahiru Jega as an unbiased umpire in the political process. Having publicly exhibited his partiality and disdain against many political parties in the country, we believe he is no longer in a position to honourably superintend in elections where the same parties are participants. Accordingly, we demand that Jega be dismissed immediately as the chairman of INEC.”
He said there is no doubt that by its ruling on the suit filed by Fresh Democratic Party; the court has ousted the powers of the commission to deregister parties.
Speaking on the losses suffered by the parties based on the illegal registration, Ogbonna said the action of INEC had led to the dismembering of most of the parties whose membership became frustrated and scattered.
The parties that signed the statement include, Peoples Progressive Party, National Advance Party, New Democrat, Peoples Redemption Party, People’s Salvation Party, Action Party of Nigeria, African Liberation Party.
Others are, Progressive Action Party, Movement for Democracy and Justice, National Action Council, Better Nigeria People’s Party, National Conscience Party, African Political System, Justice Party, Change Advocacy Party, Community Party of Nigeria, and Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria
Also speaking, Chairman of PAC, Mr. Charles Nowdo warned that having been defeated in the high court, INEC is bound by law not to exclude the parties from elections, adding that the commission has no excuse to continue the way it is going since funding for the elections has never been a challenge which the country cannot meet.
INEC to appeal judgment
He alleged that INEC may be harbouring a secret agenda which only the commission can explain.
But in a swift reaction, INEC’s Spokesman, Mr. Kayode Idowu said, “they are entitled to their own opinion which is difficult to engage with objectively. As for contesting in subsequent elections, the recent court judgement is specific in its reliefs that is, regarding a particular party; and that is even being appealed.”
The aggrieved parties further threatened that in the event of the Anambra and Ekiti elections being held without their participation, the outcome will be challenged and subsequently annulled. “If they refuse to obey the law as it is, then we will enforce it by ourselves and make sure that any election held by the commission without adhering to the latest court judgement is declared null and void.”