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Friday, 12 February 2016

Way Forward On #EkitiGate

The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has for the third time petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), asking him to review June 21, 2014 governorship election and prosecute suspects in the alleged “criminal” manipulation of the electoral process that returned the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Ayodele Fayose, as the governor.

In a petition entitled “Request for the prosecution of persons involved in conspiring and perpetrating acts of electoral fraud and malpractices in the governorship election of June 21, 2014 in a manner other than that envisaged by the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended,” the party said the review of the matter had become imperative in the national interest to avoid a cycle of politicians that could seize the reins of government through treason. According to the petition by the state Chairman of APC, Olajide Awe, the party said its present petition arose from the recent confessions on Channels Television by the Secretary of the PDP in Ekiiti State, Dr. Temitope Aluko, published and broadcast on other electric and print media.

Aluko had spilled the beans two weeks ago, alleging that Fayose gave officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Ekiti State N1 billion to compromise its staff without the knowledge of former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega. Aluko also named all the personalities and institutions involved in the election scam that had drawn commentaries in the local and international media calling for justice in Ekiti State. Eminent Nigerians have also questioned the rationale of allowing immunity and time frame in the prosecution of electoral crimes, particularly treasonable offence, to stand on the way of justice and credibility of democratic practice in Nigeria.

In APC’s petition, the party referred to the earlier two petitions dated February 13, 2015 and November 23, 2015 on the same subject matter, saying that by the latest confessions by one of the principal participants in the election heist, “we are compelled to write this reminder to draw your attention to the urgent need to address the matter to ensure justice in what has turned a blight on the nation’s practice of democracy through treasonable actions that denied the votes of Ekiti people”. The party listed alleged infractions in the letters as stated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to Awe, the infractions include:

• Unusual militarization before, during and after the election that created fears and heightened the level of insecurity to the electorate throughout Ekiti State

•INEC’s compromise of the election by the principal beneficiary as contained in
the EkitiGate audio tape, to which Fayose admitting getting INEC soft copies of sensitive materials that he said he printed for the election and collation of election results at Efon-Alaaye on June 19, 2014 (two days before the actual election) as revealed by Fayose in the audio tape

• The role of the Presidency in laundering billions of naira to manipulate the election as revealed by the principal participant in the election fraud, Dr Aluko, and the official instruction to security personnel by the Federal Government to deliver Ekiti to PDP at all costs

• The involvement of PDP stalwarts across the country in the manipulation of the election, notably Senator Iyiola Omisore, Musiliu Obanikoro, Jelili Adesiyan, Chris Ubah and Hon Abdulrahman, among others as revealed in the EkitiGate tape.

The APC demanded a comprehensive investigation of all events and actions that precipitated the electoral heist and prosecution of all alleged and culpable culprits, both individuals and institutions, including INEC, in the election fraud saga. Noting that the EkitiGate scandal is an unprecedented electoral crime of treason that must be addressed in an unprecedented manner, Awe added that in the spirit of the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari and in view of the new anti-corruption crusade that frowns at allowing criminals to enjoy the fruits of their crimes, the matter must be addressed in a manner that would not allow criminals get away with their crimes.

Awe added: “We view EkitiGate as an extra-ordinary shame of a nation, which is unprecedented in the annals of our electoral history. We unequivocally believe that this should elicit extra-ordinary remedy so that the cause of justice, fair-play and pre-eminence of Nigerian Constitution are not permanently perverted and to act as deterrent to a repeat of such”.

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