…Party calls for postponement of election
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Barely 24 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Labour Party, in Ondo state, has raised an alarm over the omission of the party’s logo in the ballot papers sent to the state.
The party, however, called on INEC to postpone the election in seven House of Representatives and one Senatorial area across the state until the needful was done.
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the state secretary of the party, Abiodun Agbaje, alleged that it “was a deliberate act to disenfranchise our supporters.
Agbaje listed the seven House of Representatives areas where the party’s logo was missing including Owo/ Ose Federal Constituency, Akoko South West/ East, Akure North / South, Akiko North East/ West, Ilaje/Ese- Odo, Okitipupa/ lrele, Ondo East/ West.
The party logo was missing in the Ondo Central Senatorial district area of the state.
The party secretary said that ” the omission of the Labour Party logo in the ballot paper sent to Ondo State for Senate and House of Representative election was a deliberate act to disenfranchise our supporters.
“The deliberate act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is aimed at disenfranchising us.
“On 2nd of February 2023, Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to accept the nomination of candidates of the Labour Party in 24 States.
“The court further ordered that the commission must accept the list of senatorial and House of Representatives candidates particularly in Ondo State, either manually or through its electronic nomination portal.
“Why the flagrant disobedience to court order? Unequivocally, this distasteful act which was purposely carried out and became the cynosure of all eyes yesterday ‘was targeted at states with die-hard fans of our great party.
“Sadly, if an umpire could commit such an embarrassing gaffe, it is a testament to the calls by concerned Nigerians over INEC’s honesty in the February 25 general election.
“We hereby urge the Independent National Electoral Commission to postpone the upper and lower chamber election until the needful is done.
“Furthermore, we remain undeterred as we urge our esteemed supporters to remain focused and stay away from unnecessary distraction, as we shall lawfully pursue the course until victory is ascertained.
Also speaking, the party’s House of Representatives for Akoko South East/ South West, Stephen Adeyeri, lamented that the party would seek redress in court if the election was conducted with the omission of his party’s logo.
Adeyeri added that “what happened was a deliberate act, how would our supporters exercise their franchise, everybody has the right to vote for the candidate of their choice”.
Also, the Ondo central senatorial district candidate, Fiyinfoluwa Bademosi, said that the elections in those affected areas should be postponed until the needful is done.
Bademosi said that “if INEC fails to do the needful, the party will take legal action on the issues.”
“We are surprised when our representatives went to the INEC office for the shorting out of the electoral materials and discovered that the logo of our party was consciously missing on the ballot paper of the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections in where we have candidates in Ondo state.
“We are urging the INEC to do the needful, to either give us the opportunity to participate in the election tomorrow or postpone the exercise.
“Whichever way they want to do it, we believe that since the court has ordered that our candidates should be given an opportunity to perform their rights and our supporters and members would be disturbed if they get to the polling stations tomorrow and find out that the Labour Party is missing on the ballot paper.
Bademosi said that ” We express our displeasure over the issues and we believe that the INEC is a responsible body that will do the needful and ensure that we participate in tomorrow’s election.
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