… AKALA TOO
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday expunged the name of Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, from the list of the state's candidates in the April general elections. This is coming barely hours after the acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Mohammed, President Goodluck Jonathan and other top leaders of the party presented him with the party's flag to fly its banner in the governorship election in the state.
It was the second time in less than two weeks that the measure was being taken against the governor.
Reports of the delisting of the governor's name by the commission began flying late yesterday evening in Ibadan, the state capital, with opposition politicians making calls across to their teeming supporters that 'INEC has finally bowed to popular wish of the people of the state.'
The Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, Mr. Ayodele Folami confirmed that there was an order from Abuja National Secretariat of INEC that the list of Oyo PDP candidates be immediately removed in line with the order of an Oyo State Federal High Court, which barred INEC from accepting or receiving list of candidates from the party in the state, following alleged inconclusive congresses held from December 29 to December 31 in the state.
He added: 'Since INEC, an independent body, is a product of the law, we cannot but obey the court orders in line with the avowed commitment of the national chairman and the laws setting up the Commission.'
The court had on Monday threatened INEC with contempt for pasting the list of candidates of PDP in Oyo State against the ruling of Justice J.E. Shakarho, restraining it from receiving or accepting the nomination of any person or persons for any election in the State PDP.
Three governorship aspirants- Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Elder Wole Oyelese and Alhaji Haezeem Gbolarumi with a leader of the coalition opposed to the second term bid of Governor Akala, Senator Lekan Balogun, and 33 others had sued INEC, and the PDP over the controversial party primary which formed the basis for Alao Akala's nomination.
The INEC Commissioner, Legal Services, Philip Umeadi, had told journalists in Abuja that Alao-Akala's name and that of Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, had to be removed when the commission realised they were pasted in error because of available facts that the nominations of the two governors were subject of litigations.