Ondo: Mimiko meets Buhari, says INEC’s decision dangerous

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The Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, on Friday met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari over the political development in the state that saw the Independent National Electoral Commission recognising Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming governorship election.

Mimiko later told State House correspondents that he decided to visit the Presidential Villa, Abuja to inform the President about the danger in the decision, which he described as an injustice to the people of the state.

The governor admitted that he was shocked because the development had no basis in law or politics.

“I am shocked. In logic, in law, in politics, there is no basis for this decision whatsoever,” the governor said.

He explained that the court order upon which the INEC based its decision was about zonal and state executives of the PDP and not about the 2016 election.

While saying that Ibrahim and Eyitayo Jegede were not parties to the suit, the governor said the national electoral body initially took the right decision by making it clear that it was not state or zonal executives that were empowered by the Electoral Act to conduct elections.

He said while the INEC and security agencies monitored the party’s primary elections that produced Jegede in Akure, Ibrahim decided to hold his in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital when there was no threat to peace in Akure.

Mimiko said his camp would have disregarded the Justice Okon Abang’s judgment that ordered the national electoral body to recognise Ibrahim but for information given to him that the commission would only act on the last court order on the matter.

Based on this, he said his camp appealed the judgment, saying the notice of appeal should naturally have served as a stay of execution.

He said his camp also got two orders mandating INEC not to replace Jegede’s name.

According to him, while one of the judgments was served on the commission at about 10am on Thursday, the other was served at about 3pm.

He added, “Only around 7 or 8pm (on Thursday), we got to know that INEC, for no justifiable reason, had substituted the name of Jegede and replaced it with that of Ibrahim.

“The question to ask is on whose order has INEC done that?

“Apart from the fact that we have two restraining orders on INEC, the commission knows full well that Jimoh Ibrahim’s primary election was held in Ibadan.

“There was no report by security agencies that the security situation in Ondo State warranted the movement of the primary to Ibadan or anywhere outside the state, for that matter.

“Under INEC guidelines, the time for substitution of candidates has even elapsed.”

Mimiko said he decided to meet Buhari to inform him that the INEC’s decision had the potential of causing crisis in the state.

He said, “This action potentially can cause a breach of peace. In Ondo State in the last seven and half years, we have done everything possible to put good governance on the table and promote peace.

“We see this action as potentially dangerous. It can cause conflagration in the state and that is why as the Chief Security Officer of the state, I have come to alert Mr. President to the potential danger of this injustice so that we can nip it in the bud.”

He said Buhari had assured him that he would look into the issue with a view to ensuring that where there is injustice, it would be rectified.

PUNCH


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