The All Progressives Congress APC in Rivers State has served contempt proceedings on Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to ensure the inclusion of its candidates in the forthcoming elections in the state.
The move follows INEC’s insistence not to include the APC upon the judgment of the Supreme Court. “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”, a statement by Prince Tonye Princewill, director, Strategic Communications, Tonye Cole Campaign Organization said yesterday.
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 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 can not 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.”
Continuing, he said: “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. While noting the efforts the party had made to be listed on the ballots, he warned 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.