By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers state has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure the inclusion of its name on the ballot for all elections in the state, saying anything other than that could mean that the commission would have to repeat the exercise in Rivers state.
In a bid to ensure compliance with its demands, the party said its delegation from Rivers state has served contempt proceedings on INEC Chairman.
According to the party, “He is to appear in court to explain why he should not be sent to jail for disobeying subsisting court orders and excluding APC in Rivers state,” the party said in a statement by its Director, Strategic Communications for the Tonye Cole Campaign Organization, Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill.
He confirmed that “proceedings were served yesterday because INEC has shown us that it is no longer independent. How else can you explain the speed they acted after a judgement by Omotosho that said we should not only be removed from the ballot, but we should also be barred from campaigning? People should learn to fear God.
“Now, that same Omotosho’s order has been stayed, yet two weeks later, we’re still waiting for our rights to be restored and INEC is comfortable that it has not been given to us. To make matters worse, the Supreme Court, last week, threw out the appeal against the stay judgement. So, what is still holding INEC? They cannot exclude us. But if they do, they will face the legal consequences. We can either do this election once or they will conduct it twice. The law is on our side.”
He thanked Rivers people for showing restraint and implored them to come out and vote as who becomes President is who determines the leaders in the state. “Do not be distracted by INEC. If they do not put us on the ballot, that election will be repeated. It will not be an election. But the Presidential election is not in doubt. All states must put in their quota towards victory. That includes us too here in Rivers state.
“It will be recalled that despite several pleas and multiple court orders, INEC has continued to stay mute on the matter of Rivers state, offering no details as to why the numerous judgements in favour of the APC have not been abided by, whereas judgements in favour of the PDP are more readily attended to. It appears that forces unseen have an interest in not seeing APC in Rivers state thrive. This, no doubt, is not the end of the matter”, he alleged.
We can still see disaster on Saturday
The party also reacted to the postponement of the general elections nationwide saying that it stood by the statements from Festus Keyamo and Garba Shehu “and that not only did the delay expose Wike and the PDP’s unholy alliance with INEC, it showed the whole world that injustice to one, is a delay for us all. They have offended God.”
The party outlined the steps it had taken to be fairly relisted on the ballot, including the contempt of court proceedings served on INEC and stated that, “if APC Rivers state continued to be treated with disdain, the said election will still not hold.”
“Even though the postponement of the elections did not come to me as a total surprise, I was still expecting the INEC Chairman to stubbornly push on and try to force through the elections regardless. I still see disaster come Saturday. Unless we’re on the ballot, the election won’t be smooth anywhere. The God of Rivers state wants justice and He will get it. We have not even had so much as an explanation from INEC”, said Princewill.