By NBF News

Barrister Dapo Durosimi- Etti was the candidate for Labour Party (LP) in Lagos Central Senatorial District during the National Assembly poll. He campaigned hard for the election, but his party's name and logo did not appear on the ballot paper that was used in his senatorial district. According to him, it was a situation that disrupted his plans and ambition. His party protested and petitioned INEC for last minute amendment. He is heading to court to challenge the outcome of the election.

What is your reaction to the result of the last National Assembly poll?

I wish to express my gratitude to over 1.3 million voters that voted for me during the election. It is a statement of the times that we are going through that in spite of the fact that during the botched April 2, 2011 elections, the logo of my party, our party, the Labour Party, was omitted from the ballot, and after our protest to the INEC, it offered to rectify it. Again, during the April 9 election, our logo was omitted for the second time.

What do you think is the reason behind the omission?

This I believe is the action of the enemy within and enemy without. I was told by the INEC at Abuja that my name disappeared mysteriously. For the avoidance of doubt, I applied to the INEC to be candidate in the election within the stipulated time, I submitted my forms and collected an official acknowledgement of the receipt of the form from INEC at Abuja. When the first 'Africa Magic' was performed against our party on Saturday April 2, I protested to the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Lagos State, Mr. Ogunmola and he apologised for the omission and asked me to take the matter up with the INEC headquarters at Abuja. I eventually did that. They told me that the omission was done in error and that it would be rectified at the April 9 election. To reassure me, INEC, Abuja printed out the list of the Lagos Senatorial candidates from their website, showing my name on No.3 and handed it over to me. To my surprise, another 'Africa Magic' was performed on Saturday April 9, 2011 when our party's name and logo were again missing.

How did you feel when you did not see your party logo and name on the ballot paper?

I felt bad and disappointed. My supporters were worried and they kept calling me on phone. That day, I received over 800 calls within one hour and batteries of my handsets ran down. It took days before my sets could recover from the calls. I also received over 180-text messages from the people the following day. Some of the electorate even cried that same day.

They complained and protested bitterly. But thank God that they applied maturity and did not create trouble.

What did the omission cause you?
It really created negative impressions. Those who thought they have succeeded in putting my party name and logo out of the race went ahead to fuel unfounded and malicious rumours that I have been 'settled' to drop my Senatorial ambition with sums, ranging from the ridiculous to the outrageous.

Were you bribed to step down for someone else?
Never- nothing can be farther from the truth. Indeed, no one can approach me with such nonsense. This remains in the realm of wishful- thinking which can never be realized. I heard the rumour that I was paid some huge amount of money to step down, but what I cannot understand is that, how would I be paid that amount and still go back and complain in the court? Initially, I heard an outrageous amount. Later, the money was brought down to N50million. I am saying it clear and clean now that nothing like that ever happened.

Are you suspecting anyone for the act?
I believe it is the handiwork of an insider. But thank God that INEC is fishing out the bad eggs in its midst. I think election should be properly done in this country and the electorate should be allowed to make their choice of who they want to be their leader.

It is not all about money. Whoever thinks he or she has money, should keep his money and come out and let the people make their choice. They should not be imposing themselves on the people. I am saying it clearly that this is the handiwork of enemy within.

What do you have to tell your supporters to make them to continue to have confidence in you?

I wish to appeal to all our party supporters in Lagos to keep the faith, stay calm, resolute, undaunted and immovable. I assure them that victory shall be ours at last. They should please keep their hopes alive and keep the flag flying. Our victory over the evil forces of darkness is most certain.

What steps are you taking to get justice?
I must fight the injustice meted out to me. We will meet those behind the 'African Magic' against the Labour Party in Lagos and elsewhere in court. Their thriving days are numbered. If President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who has the highest stake in this election said nobody should rig for him to be President, I do not believe that forces in and out of INEC should rig for anybody to be Senator. Before the first election date was later postponed, we discovered the omission and complained to INEC, they apologized, saying that it was a mistake. They assured us that the mistake would be corrected. But six days to the new election date, a fresh list was sent directly to me from INEC office and our party logo and my name were there. What I cannot understand is how the logo disappeared the night before April 9. So, INEC will explain to me how 'The Africa magic' happened when we meet in court.