The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said any Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member in Ogun State campaigning for elective position without being on the candidates’ list released by the electoral umpire “is on his or her own” as the body has nothing to do with such.
Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner for Information, Media and Voter Education, said this while featuring on Citizens’ Forum, a programme aired by the Rock City 101.9 FM, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu, a member of the House of Representatives and some of his supporters have been campaigning for various offices despite not making the list of candidates released by INEC.
Adebutu has been at loggerheads with Senator Buruji Kashamu, PDP’s governorship candidate in Ogun State, over the governorship ticket.
According to Okoye, only members of the PDP whose names were on the list released by INEC were the genuine candidates of the party, adding that others were mere pretenders.
Okoye said: “Our position is that the INEC received judgments of properly constituted courts of law and we have given effect to the judgments that we have. The judgments that we have asked the INEC to recognize the list of candidates submitted by a particular faction of the PDP in Ogun State.
“We have recognized the candidates submitted by that particular political party and we have published the names of those candidates recognized by the court.
“So, it is the names of those candidates that have been published. Any other individual, outside that particular list, who is campaigning for any position whatsoever, is on his or her own. The INEC has nothing to do with that. We have obeyed the law. We have published the list of candidates that we were asked to publish based on court order and we have done what the law requires us to do.”
Okoye also said that INEC was doing all within its powers to prevent vote buying during the elections.
He continued: “The INEC has intelligence that as we are working assiduously to prevent the phenomenon of vote buying, politicians and political parties are working assiduously at devising new mechanisms on how to corrupt the electoral system and subvert the will of the people. We are going to put up new measures to address this issue.
“My advice is that those who want to violate the law and those who want to change the will of the Nigerian people can continue with what they are doing. But on election day, the INEC will work with security agencies to make sure that anybody who tries to corrupt the electoral process or who attempts to violate the will of the people is apprehended and prosecuted.
“My advice to political parties and candidates that want to subvert the will of the people is that they should be very careful because INEC and all the security agencies will be on the watch out for anyone who wants to violate the law.”
The INEC National Commissioner said the general election would witness a larger voter turnout than the 2015 elections.
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He said: “We expect a larger voter turnout based on various variables.
“One, we have registered over 80 million voters for this particular election. Second, the simultaneous accreditation and voting will afford Nigerian people the opportunity of voting without any disruption or delay. Third, we expect the political parties to mobilize electorate for them to come out to cast their votes. We expect a higher voter turnout in this election than we had in the previous election.”