The Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Former Ministers Forum have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone Ondo State governorship election by three weeks.
The party and former ministers briefed newsmen after their meeting on Monday in Abuja, saying the shift was necessary in order to resolve the legal dispute over the party’s candidate for the state election.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, said it would be wrong for INEC to continue with the election as planned for Nov. 26 since the matter was still before the Supreme Court.
Adeyeye said that the case which was now before the Supreme Court had denied Eyitayo Jegede, his faction candidate, the opportunity to campaign in the last few weeks
The secretary expressed dissatisfaction with INEC for recognising the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction’s candidate, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, for the elections instead of Jegede.
He added that “INEC must postpone the election for a minimum of three weeks to allow everyone to participate.
“Every party should be allowed to present candidates of their choice. The election must be postponed in the interest of peace.
“INEC should wait for the decision of the Supreme Court before conducting the election.”
He said people should remember that the second republic was truncated partly because of the electoral crisis in the old Ondo State, saying that “Ondo State is a highly educated state.
“We witnessed what happened in 1983. Ondo State wanted to choose their own leader. The events lead to collapse of second republic.
“We don’t want that to happen again. INEC should allow Ondo people to choose their candidate. Let there be level playing ground for all political parties to choose their candidates.”
Mr Tanimu Turaki, who spoke for the former ministers, said that the Forum support the PDP in the call for the postponement.
He also pledged the loyalty and support of the former ministers to the Makarfi leadership, saying PDP would not die.
“We believe we have come to a point where every responsible, every loyal, every committed party member should be seen to be rendering efforts to strengthen this party,’’ Turaki said.
Earlier, Makarfi had said during an interactive session with the ministers that it was regrettable that Ondo State was in the centre of the raging party crisis.
He expressed the hope that all legal issues involving the party would be resolved before the end of the year.
He added that “our expectation was that before we begin thinking of going to the Supreme Court,
it should be next year.
“But somehow, we will be in Supreme Court tomorrow (Nov. 23) and some major decisions might be taking.
“So, if you look at it and calculate, hopefully before the end of the year we will be done with legal issues.”
Makarfi urged the ministers to consult with every member of the party and start strategizing on how PDP could capture power in 2019.
“If we don’t capture power, it is a wasted effort. We must strategise so that we cannot be cornered.
“As a caretaker committee, we feel we should create a forum to bring our people together, to discuss and make recommendations on how to move forward.
“Zoning of the presidency to the north and the party chairman to the south is a major fundamental strategy decision,’’ Makarfi said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgment on the PDP candidate for Ondo election on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
However, INEC had stated that it would not postpone the election for any reason.(NAN)