CPC ACCUSES INEC OF ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION OF CANDIDATES
Confusion has continued to trail the parties' candidates list as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday accused INEC of publishing names of candidates not submitted to the electoral body..
This is even as the party explained why its Presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari, could not agree to terms dictated by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the much touted alliance that has hit the rock, albeit temporarily as the two parties had expressed optimism of likelihood of still finding a common ground.
National Chairman of the Party, Tony Momoh, while fielding questions from newsmen yesterday in Abuja, alleged that the INEC was biting more than it could chew because at the end of the day, it would not get away with the illegal substitution.
Apparently alluding to the surprising appearance in the candidates list published by INEC, of the names of Mohammed Abacha and his running mate, Hussaini Garba, instead of Brigadier- General Lawal Jaafaru Isa whose name was submitted by the party to INEC.
Momoh insisted that only the parties had the right to submit names of candidates which the INEC must publish and not INEC choosing for the parties as it said reflected in the INEC's list. He would, however, not disclose other areas where the names of its candidates were substituted by INEC without the permission or knowledge of the party.
'INEC is a creation of the law and can't be unlawful in handling of the of parties candidates' list. We should be watchful, this is the last opportunity we have to deepen the democracy or back again. The manner the INEC handled the list leaves much to be desired. How can they flagrantly be substituting candidates on their own,' Momoh queried.
According to him, 'it is the party that knows which candidate wins because it is not only the results that can be written by anybody that indicates the winner, other factors also determine the winner of a primary, so INEC can't do whatever they like. They can't do anything outside the law.'
However, in a swift reaction, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, explained that much as he would not be able to comment on the CPC position, he believed that the commission, as a law abiding institution, could not be lawless.
'Besides, the period of claims and objection is there for whoever has any grievances against any candidate to come forward with it. So, there is still the opportunity to make complaints and raise objections,' he stated.
On the issue of the failed merger talks, the CPC helmsman denied that the talks had collapsed completely. He said it would be a great mistake on the part of the opposition if they failed to come together to fight the octopus called the ruling party, noting that the parties should come together and stop washing their linen in the public.
Momoh explained that the deadlock in the talks could not be blamed on a rigidity on the part of CPC or its presidential candidate as claimed in some quarters, saying the facts should be situated in the right perspective.
He explained that both the ACN and CPC were capable opposition parties to turn the table against the ruling party but that the issue of platform was very crucial for both parties not to run foul of the law.
The CPC Chairman put it thus: They can't say we are rigid as being bandied around. The CPC has picked General Buhari as its presidential candidate, the ACN has picked Mallam Ribadu as its candidate. Now, if General Buhari has been picked as the alliance presidential candidate, then it is proper he uses CPC, which had nominated him as a candidate in the first place because doing otherwise will give room for litigation.
'After the election somebody will head for court to say he was nominated by CPC, how come he ran on the platform of another party, that is the issue. It is not a matter of rigidity, it is not advisable for General Buhari to run on ACN platform. This is what we are saying but the matter is not closed because as opposition parties, I believe we should not play into the hands of those who did not wish the alliance well.
'General Buhari has all the qualities to make the difference and he fits the bill. The opposition should plan well not fall into the hands of enemies.,' he stated.
In another development the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Senatorial ticket given to the Chairman of the FCT Committee, Attai Aidoko Usman, by the INEC has sparked off controversies as one Hassan Yakubu, who claimed to have won the primary of the party, has petitioned the commission.
In a protest letter to INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Yakubu said he was the validly elected candidate for Kogi East Senatorial District at the primary and said he was illegally substituted with Attai Usman for the position.
In the letter signed by his lawyer, A. A. Ibrahim, the aggrieved petitioner claimed that at the party's primaries, which was held on January 11, he was affirmed and returned as the candidate of the ANPP for Kogi East senatorial district in the presence of INEC officials.
'Thereafter, our client was given form EC4B (iv) and Form CF001 respectively, which were duly filled and returned. Our client is alive and has not withdrawn from the race.
We are therefore surprised that upon the publication of names released by INEC, the name of our client, Hon. Hassan Yakubu who was duly nominated at the primaries duly monitored by INEC is now replaced with that of Hon. Attai Aidoko Usman as candidate for the All Nigeria Peoples Party for Kogi East Senatorial District.'