Abuja—The factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the November 2016 Ondo State governorship election, Jimoh Ibrahim, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of trying to exclude him from the election by not accepting his papers as the authentic candidate of the PDP.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, yesterday evening, Ibrahim, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not an appeal court, therefore, cannot determine who is the PDP candidate in the election. The business mogul’s claim to being the candidate of the PDP was strengthened last week when an Abuja high court ruled that the electoral body should recognise Ibrahim, who was produced by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party. His attempt to file the court judgement was allegedly rebuffed by an official of the commission whom he alleged demanded a bribe of $1million from him.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the chairman of INEC, Mr Rotimi Oyekunmi denied the allegations saying no demand was made of the candidate. Speaking further on the matter, Jimoh Ibrahim said though the electoral body had said it will obey the court judgement immediately it was served, the music changed “immediately INEC was served the judgement.
“After the service, the music changed. INEC should not allow one governor to destroy its reputation. We are not saying that INEC will not obey the court judgement. One of the officials demanded for one million dollar bribe from me to process the court judgement,” he alleged. The PDP chieftain, who said he had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and reported the official to the INEC chairman also demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, saying that he is a card carrying member of the PDP. Jimoh said he cannot be trusted to conduct a free and fair election in the state.
However, in a reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekunmi said: ”It is not true that Mrs Babalola demanded one million dollar from Jimoh Ibrahim. Two other officials of INEC witnessed the encounter between Mrs Babalola and Ibrahim. Ibrahim brought a copy of his judgement and wanted to impress it on INEC to collect it but we told him we already have it. It is ungodly of a businessman of his stature to make this kind of allegation.”