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Nigeria News: AC raises alarm over Iack of access to electoral materials

The Action Congress in Ekiti state which is planning to file a fresh petition in the Electoral tribunal to dispute the victory of Ekiti state Governor Dr Segun Oni in the re run Governorship elections, has  accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of denying it access to election materials used in Ido/Osi Local Government Area during the rerun governorship election.

Recounting the party’s experience at a press briefing on Wednesday, in Ado-Ekiti, counsel to the AC, Chief Tony Adeniyi, alleged that the commission had been dilly-dallying on the issue since last week.

The Administrative Secretary of INEC, Alhaji Adebisi Adegbola, had, on Wednesday, told journalists that he could not take action on the AC’s application without authority from his boss.

Punch newspaper reports that, Adeniyi said since he applied for the certified true copies of Form EC8A (election results at the polling unit) for Ifaki Wards I and II; Orin-Ora Ward and Usi; all in Ido/Osi Local Government Area; as well as Ipoti Ward in Ijero Local Government, INEC had not been forthcoming.

He said the alleged antics of INEC had fuelled his client’s suspicion that the commission was colluding with the PDP to “perpetrate another fraud” aimed at stalling the AC’s petition.

Quoting from Section 159 of the Electoral Act, the counsel said that the AC was acting within the purview of law by requesting for the documents to strengthen its petition.

Adeniyi said that the party raised the alarm given the few days left from the 30 days stipulated by the Electoral Act for the party to file its petition to challenge the outcome of the election.

The counsel said that the AC did not want to believe the insinuation going the rounds that the materials had been burnt, following the failure of the commission to authenticate the rumour. He added that the party might be forced to approach the court to compel the commission to make the materials available.

Adeniyi said, “Since May 7, we have been going to INEC for Form EC8A for Ido/Osi and Ijero Local Government, particularly, Ifaki Wards I and II, Orin-Ora, Usi and Ipoti, the experience has been frustrating and disturbing.

“We have been visiting INEC office since Monday till today and it has been the same experience. They have been telling us to come back without giving any concrete reason.

“As we got there today (Wednesday) again, two gentlemen arrived from Abuja in a green Peugeot 307 taxi cab marked, Abuja XE 792 RBC, inscribed with ALC 915 on the sides.

“The men were addressed as INEC directors and the Administrative Secretary demonstrated some courtesy to us when he told us they were his bosses.

“We don’t know their mission in Ado-Ekiti, but the Administrative Secretary left us to attend to them after we had waited for more than two hours. We have paid all the necessary fees for certification of the documents.

“We have just 14 days left to file our petition. INEC has failed in its responsibility to make the documents available. We see this as a deliberate attitude to frustrate our petition.

“INEC has started to collude with Oni in perpetrating another fraud by preventing us from getting these vital documents. They have forestalled the timely filing of our petition.”

Adegbola, however, told journalists in an interview in his office that there was no reason for the apprehension by the AC.

He said, “The lawyer has applied and we are processing it. We have passed the request to the appropriate quarters. If the REC is around now, it would have been a different thing.

“They should understand my position. As a civil servant, I can’t take decision without authority from my direct boss. Hopefully, by Friday, the materials they requested for will be made available to them.”

He declined comments on the insinuation by the AC that the materials for Ido/Osi Local Government had been burnt.

Also reacting to the development, the state chapter of PDP described the AC as a party of liars.

It added that the allegation that the PDP was working in connivance with officials of the INEC to prevent it from procuring election materials was occasioned by the shock it suffered through the loss of the election.

The Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said, “These people won’t just stop deluding themselves.

 “How possible is it for a party to an election to be preventing another party from procuring electoral materials from INEC? Have they applied to INEC and the commission refused to make the materials available to them.

Besides, did they not claim before now that they are in possession of all documents needed to prosecute their case? And if electoral materials are needed at the tribunal, is it not INEC that is in the best position to tender its