The Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of planning to use technicalities to disqualify candidates of some political parties for the Kogi governorship election scheduled for November 16.
BENGBENRONEWS reports that APM National Chairman, Mr Yusuf Dantalle, at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, accused INEC of plotting to subvert the processes of the state election.
Dantalle, who is also governorship candidate of APM in Kogi, said that report available to the party indicated that INEC wanted to disqualify some candidates nominated by some political parties for the election.
He said that the commission wrote a letter to the party on Sept. 13, notifying it that its nomination for Kogi deputy governor, Mr Awombo Bala, was invalid because he was 30 years.
Dantalle said that Bala was nominated on the Not Too Young to Run Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2019 general elections, “but INEC said the age required by the constitution was 35 years”.
Dantalle, however, said that an attempt was being made by the party to replace Bala with Mrs Olayemi Joledo-Ayomah, since Electoral Act allowed political parties to make substitution of candidate within a time frame.
“It is in the law that if you are duly nominated, INEC will make provisions for withdrawal and replacement of candidates.
“As I am talking to you 13 political parties have not been allowed to key into the political process.
“We went to INEC office with our response but they did not attend to us. INEC want to technically disallow it.
“I was approached to withdraw from the contest. Now, for those of us who refuse to withdraw, the plan is to use INEC to use legal technicality to disqualify us,” he alleged.
Dantalle said the party would follow constitutional procedure if INEC eventually disqualified its candidates.
But Mr Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, described Dantalle’s claims as unfounded.
He said that a political parties could only substitute candidates if it had valid nomination, submitted within the stipulated timeline.
“The constitutional provision is that a candidate for governorship must attain the age of 35.
“So if a political candidate submitted a nomination whose age is 27 years and INEC writes such a party notifying it, does that amount to subverting democracy?
“Other than that, the only way any political party can carry out substitution is the candidate nominated dies or is incapacitated.
“If a political party nominated a candidate that is invalid, there is nothing to substitute.”