PRESS RELEASE ON INEC FINAL LIST OF GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATES ON THE FORTHCOMING GOVERNORSHIP ELECTIONS IN EDO STATE BY PASTOR PETERS OMORAGBON-NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY CANDIDATE
By Pastor Peters Osawaru OMORAGBON
The Law As The Hope Of The Common Man
Gentlemen of the Press.
During my acceptance speech after my Party Primaries on June 27, 2020, that got me the ticket to be the governorship candidate, for Edo State, I drew attention on our current court case before the Federal High Court Lagos, challenging the unconstitutional and illegal deregistration of the National Conscience Party by INEC which INEC is relying upon to prevent my participation in the forthcoming election.
Equally of note was our warning that should INEC refuse to include my name and that of my party on the ballot and go ahead with the election, it may be engaging on a futile exercise.
This statement further strengthen our resolve above to remind INEC and its co-travellers in APC and PDP that, whatever victory they seemed to be enjoying now is pyrrhic. INEC would have lost nothing by allowing us to contest than it would, if at the end, its action is nullified and a re-run ordered by the Court of competent jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, may I appeal to our teeming supporters and independent voters to remain law abiding and eschew violence as we trust in the Rule of Law. Our campaign will continue with all fervency without let or hinderance in accordance with section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a shame to learn from INEC’s defence against our originating summons by confessing that it was incapable of conducting elections for large numbers of political parties in Nigeria as a basis for preventing the NCP and myself from contesting in the Edo State governorship election. Hear what INEC stated in its watery defence in paragraph 17 of its affidavit to our originating summons: That the proliferation of political parties poses a major challenge to electoral administration in Nigeria with most of them remaining comatose after registration, but their presence in the register of political parties in Nigeria only makes the jobs of INEC ALMOST impossible to perform seamlessly.
According to ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, INEC is the second-largest government agency in Nigeria, in terms of its staff strength, it is ranked second to the Nigerian Police Force. As at December 2013, the Commission’s staff strength was approximately 14,000 full time staff members across the country. The commission also appoints ad hoc staff for election duty (about 300, 000 were recruited during the 2011 elections).
It is worrisome for a commission that is funded DIRECTLY by a federation account with unlimited powers and unfettered access to fund to employ as much staff as it desires to openly make such undermining confession about multi-party democracy and call it proliferation. It is insulting to fathom the thinking of INEC when it was responsible in the first place for the registration of the parties. Secondly, where is the respect for section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution that empowers every Nigerian their fundamental right to form, belong to any political party of their choice to advance their political beliefs. The Constitution never sets a ceiling to the numbers of political parties to be formed by citizens!
Under the current procedure of funding the commission gets it fund directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the commission is able to prepare its budget for approval, and thereafter it is disbursed directly to the commission through the Independent National Electoral Commission Fund (INEC Fund), which was introduced in the 2006 and 2010 Electoral Acts. The establishment of the fund enables the commission to directly manage the disbursement of its funds.
Is it therefore not an absurdity for the commission to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians just because it is too lazy to perform its constitutional duties to the electorates? In 2015, INEC got 120 billion Naira and in 2019 requested and got 189.2 billion Naira to conduct elections those years. The reasons it gave for the increased budget was the rise in the numbers of political parties. So, is INEC telling Nigerians that we cannot fund election process in Nigeria, where a commission like the NDDC could expend 45 billion naira in 4 months during a period where there was total lockdown world-wide?
As at August 2, 2019 there were 408 registered political parties in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and out these about 6 are more popular-The Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green, Scottish National Party, Northern Ireland, the remaining 402 political parties remain UNKNOWN till tomorrow in the register of political parties and are featured on the ballots ONLY when they field a candidate. None of them has been deregistered because they have no member in the House of Common, Lords or the county councils. Amongst the relatively unknown parties is the Workers Revolutionary Party headed by a Nigerian called Joshua Ogunleye. Would the Nigerian Police Force postulate that because the population of Nigerians are increasing daily and for it to be able to engage in crime control, it should begin the process of reducing the population by eliminating Nigerians it defines as ‘comatose’?
Our lawyer Barrister Marcus Eyarhono has responded accordingly and like it was in 2002, when the Late Abel Guobadia was disgraced by the Supreme Court ruling of November 8, 2002, so shall it be in 2020, when both the corrupt office of the Attorney General of Nigeria and the Mahmood Yakubu led INEC will be defeated by the Rule of Law.
We do not have a wall-chest or a bullion van of looted fund to bribe anyone but believe in the honour and integrity of the Judiciary today in Nigeria as the last hope of the common man on the street. Justice is assured.
Please, go ahead and promote our agenda to the people of Edo State under the 10 Care Plus One Agenda set to care and cater for the well being of the Edo people. This is the Party’s manifestoes and not my own agenda as currently demonstrated by the APC and PDP candidates. Their parties have no manifestoes they are proud of, but ours was developed as far back in 2001 and was submitted to INEC together with our Party Constitution on 27th of May, 2001. Yet INEC is supporting APC and PDP by promoting and working for them as its pay master and such not interested in the ideals and political emancipation of the Nigerian Masses.
Let me end by expressing my unreserved appreciation to the Fourth Estate of the Realm on your overwhelming support to our campaign even where we have no ‘ brown envelopes’ to distribute. It is a sign of the good things to happen in Nigeria and we are still hopeful.
Long Live the National Conscience Party of Nigeria. Long Live Edo State. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Pastor Peters Osawaru OMORAGBON, is the Governorship Candidate for Edo State 2020 Elections on the platform of the National Conscience Party.