By Danlami Nmodu
Prior to today’s gubernatorial election in Kebbi State, Professor Attahiru Jega , National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission INEC who incidentally is from the state addressed stake holders in Birnin Kebbi.Daily Trust captured the meeting in its report on Thursday, 29 March 2012 thus: “Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega, said no time would be extended for the conduct of the Supreme Court ordered re-run gubernatorial election in Kebbi State slated for March 31.
“Jega, who spoke ..at a meeting with stakeholders preparatory to the election in Birnin-Kebbi, said no political party or its candidate has informed the commission of withdrawal by any contestants, saying the commission would not give room for candidate substitution.
“Defending the decision, he said the Supreme Court ordered for re-run with candidates who already contested for the governorship elections in April 2011 and does not order for substitution of candidates.
But Jega may have put his credibility on the line with his claim.Newsdiaryonline has learnt that chieftains of Congress for Progressive Change CPC were shocked that Jega could tell his people in Birnin Kebbi that:“no political party or its candidate has informed the commission of withdrawal by any contestants, saying the commission would not give room for candidate substitution.”
Fresh facts at the disposal of Newsdiaryonline indicate that Jega’s reported claim that no party has informed his commission of withdrawal of its candidate is a big lie.In fact, CPC wrote to INEC on two occasions in March and INEC also responded to the party’s letter twice before Jega’s shocking claim at the Birnin Kebbi meeting.
On March 20th,2012, CPC wrote a letter addressed to the Chairman,INEC. It was titled: “Notification of the withdrawal of the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the rerun of 31/3//2012 in Kebbi State.” In it the party informed the Commission that “our candidate for the forthcoming Kebbi state Gubernatorial re-run election ,Alhaji Abubakar Malam ,has informed the party on 19/3/2012 of his withdrawal from participating in the exercise slated for 31/3/2012…’’
CPC’s letter signed by Alhaji Mustapha Saliu, acting national chairman and Buba Galadima (Engr),national secretary also applied for Jega’s approval to:Nominate and sponsor another candidate to represent the party for the rerun as required by section 31(i) and (ii) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended);it also requested that the commission “postpone the holding of the rerun election to another convenient date to enable the party satisfy the conditions of the Electoral Act,2010(as amended).”
And INEC also wrote to CPC on 22nd March 2012 to acknowledge receiving of the party’s letter.Abdullahi A.Kaugama secretary of the Commission who signed the letter to the acting national chairman of CPC said “the commission notes your request for the postponement of the Kebbi state governorship rerun election scheduled to hold on 31st of March ,2012 to enable you party to ‘shop and sponsor another candidate to represent the party’.The commission has given due consideration to this request and regrets to inform you that it is unable to accede to it.” Kaugama said elections are not conducted at the convenience of parties.He stated categorically therefore that the Kebbi Governorship rerun election shall accordingly proceed as scheduled.
Apparently irked by the response from the Commission CPC also did another letter date 27th March,2012 in which it drew the commission’s attention to the fact that what the Supreme Court Ordered was a fresh election within 90 days not a rerun of the polls.Again Kauma replied that his commission has not found anything to warrant a departure from its ealier position.(See the letters) .The party eventually decided to boycott today’s election.This was announced at a press conference in Abuja on 29th March .CPC also announced that it “will be instituting a court case against INEC to challenge its deliberate,unlawful and predetermined exclusion from the election”.
But the question that may continue to haunt Jega is that given this correspondence between the party and INEC why did he say no party informed the commission of withdrawal of its candidate?No tags for this post.