By Dayo Johnson & Joseph Erunke
TWENTY political parties and protesting youths, in Akure, have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to postpone the Ondo State governorship election.
The political parties, at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja, said their call was necessitated by the growing insecurity that has enveloped the state ahead of the poll.
Besides, the parties said shifting the election date to accommodate the conclusion of the relevant cases in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, will be a great service not only to the country but also its democracy.
Reading a prepared text before newsmen at a well attended press conference, which was attended by the parties’ chairmen and key national officers, National Chairman of Labour Party, LP, Abdulkadir Abdusalam, said the parties resolved that in recognition of the ugly developments in Ondo State, its governorship election should be shifted.
“In recognition of this ugly fact, we also take this opportunity to call on the relevant security agencies (the Police, DSS, NSCDC, etc.) to immediately put pressure on INEC to shift the election date to a possible date after the court processes have been completed, but within the constitutional provisions, to guarantee peaceful and healthy political environment for the election,” they said.
The political parties that sought the postponement are Labour Party, LP; United Democratic Party, UDP; Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA ;National Conscience Party, NPC and Democratic Peoples Party, DPP. Others are Progressives Party of Nigeria, PPN; Peoples Redemption Party, PRP: United Peoples Party, UPP; Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD; Peoples Democratic Congress, PDC; ADC; ACPN; BNPP; DPC; PPP and ID.
Meanwhile, youths in their hundreds from the 18 local councils, yesterday, stormed the INEC office calling for the postponement of the election by two weeks.
The youths blocked the popular Alagbaka road in Akure disrupting free flow of traffic.
They later proceeded to the INEC office in Akure where they held a procession blocking the entrance of the office.
Timely deployment of Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC and mobile policemen by the state Police Command prevented the youths from vandalising the INEC office.
Tahe protesting youths specifically said the call became imperative to allow the Appeal Court to conclude the case on the authentic candidate of the PDP in the election
Their spokesperson Oluwatuyi Adekanmbi, said the youths were protesting against the decision of the INEC to go on with the Saturday election without waiting for the outcome of the suit pending before the Appeal and Supreme Court. “This election cannot go on without Jegede’s name as the PDP candidate. Jimoh Ibrahim is not a member of our party and cannot be our candidate.”
If they decided to go on with this conspiracy, it will not work. Youths in Ondo State collectively call for justice and will vehemently oppose this.’’
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Olusegun Agbaje, who addressed the protesters said the commission was awaiting the verdict of a superior court. He commended the youths for the peaceful protest and assured them that the commission would not take sides with any party.