The Ali Modu Sheriff camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be liable of contempt of court if it rejects Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as the party’s governorship candidate.
This position appeared to be at variance with Sheriff’s earlier decision to support the candidature of Ibrahim’s opponent, Eyitayo Jegede, who was nominated by the rival Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee.
At a briefing in Abuja yesterday, the National Secretary of the Sheriff faction, Prof. Wale Oladipo, called on INEC to obey a court judgment that affirmed Ibrahim as the authentic PDP candidate for the election.
Oladipo said: “INEC is an umpire and a creation of the law so it must obey court judgment.
“The law has pronounced Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate in the forthcoming Ondo election and INEC has no choice than to abide by the order.
“In the forthcoming election, we are urging INEC to be completely neutral. We will do everything within the ambit of the law, not only to defend our party but also our candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim.”
Oladipo added that INEC would be risking court sanctions if it fails to obey the judgment, more so as INEC was also a co-defendant in the suit that culminated in the said judgment.
“INEC ought to do the needful. If it fails, the court would invoke Form 48 and 49 to punish the relevant officer and he would have himself to blame,” he said.
Oladipo affirmed that the faction was still committed to the ongoing reconciliatory talks with the Makarfi group, adding, however, that the PDP would not sacrifice the rule of law on the altar of reconciliation.
“It is better for any PDP candidate to emerge as winner in the Ondo State governorship election than to lose it to any other party.
“But we are not going to sacrifice the rule of law on the altar of reconciliation,” he said.
Prof. Oladipo warned that the leadership crisis in the PDP has assumed the dimension of national security, stressing that the opposition party must survive for democracy to endure in the country.
“In the forthcoming election, we are urging INEC to be completely neutral.
“We will do everything within the ambit of the law, not only to defend our party but also our candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim.”