By Sulaiman Achema, LokojaÂ
A lawyer, Barrister Onoja Alaji has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its stand that the All Progressives Congress (APC),
other political parties and their candidates are barred from participating in the rerun election in 1, 988 polling units across 14 local government areas of Kogi State, slated for February 20.Â
The Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mallam Haliru Pai last week Thursday announced the rerun election, saying that a court judgment excluded the APC and its candidates from contesting the rerun.Â
Reacting to the announcement Adaji said he participated in the election petition of some of the candidates purported to be excluded by INEC, saying that nowhere did the court exclude any political party or their candidates from participating.Â
INEC had announced that re-run election will take place in two
senatorial districts of the state, Kogi Central and Kogi East and some state constituencies.Â
The REC said that the APC will not participate in the rerun election into Okene/Ogoromagongo federal constituency as a result of the court ruling, adding that only the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is eligible.Â
On the state assembly re-run, the REC said APC and its candidates will not participate in the Ofu and Ankpa 1 rerun, but that the party will participate in the Idah, Dekina/Biraidu and Okura re-run.Â
The lawyer accused INEC of acting out a script and pandering to the biddings of politicians whose names he did not mention.
He said that not only were some of the APC candidates in the affected areas appellants in the said cases, but that they succeeded in their appeal, adding that INEC had no business excluding parties or their candidates from contesting in the rerun.Â
His words: â€œThe attempt by INEC that wrongly excluded APC and her candidates in a planned rerun election offices to the Kogi central and Kogi East senatorial seats, Okene/Ogorimagongo federal constituency, as well as Ankpa and Ofu state houses of assembly is wrong, unlawful and an attempt to do the biddings of a political partyâ€™s candidate who must have paid their price. I said this because I, as a lawyer participated in the election petition of some of the candidates purported to be excluded by INEC in its circular.Â
â€œAt no point in the judgement of the tribunal and up to the Court of Appeal decision were those candidates nor their party excluded from contesting the rerun election. In fact, in the case of the Kogi East Senatorial district and Ankpa I state assembly the APC candidates in those positions were the appelants and their appeal succeeded. That alone is enough for INEC to know that they were not in any breath of imagination excluded from contesting the fresh election ordered by the appellate court.