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The Independent National Electoral Commission
has vowed not to shift the November 26
governorship election in Ondo State because of
the intra-party crisis rocking the Peoples
Democratic Party.
It said the crisis in the PDP was not enough
ground to call for the postponement of the
election.
There were rumours in Abuja on Wednesday that
one of the factions in the party was planning to
mount pressure on the electoral body to shift the
election and allow the ongoing judicial
interventions concluded before the election
could be conducted.
Presently, the party is factionalised between
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed
Makarfi as leaders.
Both leaders had submitted names of different
candidates for the election.
But while INEC had picked Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim
from the Sheriff faction as the PDP candidate,
the Makarfi faction had gone to court, insisting
that Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), should fly the
party’s flag during the election.
INEC said it took the decision based on court
order and judgement, an action which the
Makarfi camp has challenged at the Court of
Appeal.
Whether the two factions are able to resolve
their differences before the date picked for the
election or not, INEC insisted that it would not
because of that shift the election.
The commission said that the crisis within the
two factions did not fall among the reasons
given by the Electoral Act to shift or postpone
the election.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of
the Commission, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told our
correspondent in an interview in Abuja on
Wednesday that the commission would go ahead
with the planned election.
He said, “The process for postponing or shifting
of elections are spelt out in the Electoral Act as
amended. One of the reasons is natural disaster.
No aspect of the reasons stated for this include
intra-party crisis as we are witnessing in the
party you have mentioned.
“Under the Electoral Act, intra-party conflict is
not recognised as one of the reasons why INEC
must shift the date of an election we have given
notice of since March.
“As I speak today, there is no plan to postpone
it. We are going ahead with the election as
slated for November 26.”
Oyekanmi added that “there are 40 political
parties in Nigeria and if there is crisis in at least
half of them, you can imagine what we would be
going through and how many times we would be
postponing the election.”
Apart from this, he said other political parties
could take the commission to court if it acceded
to the request of those who could be thinking
that the election must be shifted because of
intra-party crisis.

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