The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been counselled by a Lagos lawyer to forget about heading to the law courts to upturn the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the ”inconclusive” governorship election in Osun State on Saturday.
For the lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, ”rather than dissipate energy on legality of the decision of INEC to declare Osun election inconclusive, the parties should prepare for the re-run.
According to him, the Supreme Court has never nullified an election. ”Re-run, though a creation of INEC Guidelines, has been validated by the courts”.
But the PDP is calling on the electoral body to declare its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke the winner of the ”inconclusive” election in order to avoid crisis.
PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus, said that his party will accept nothing less than a victory from Osun. He is also accusing INEC of working to benefit their ”pay masters”, adding that the electoral body should be held responsible for any crisis.
INEC, on Sunday, September 23, declared the Osun governorship election as inconclusive. The electoral body also said that the rerun of the election in the affected polling units will take place on September 27.
The election was however, declared inconclusive due to alleged irregularities in several local governments.
Secondus has also accused INEC of allegedly taking instructions from the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP chairman claimed that its candidate won the Osun governorship election.
Meanwhile, in terms of Section 179 of the Constitution, Senator Adeleke according to the Lagos lawyer, ”ought to be declared as the governor of Osun. But INEC Guidelines empowers the Commission to declare election inconclusive where the margin between the winner and 1st runner-up is lesser than cancelled votes”.
Continuing, Effiong said, ”recent governorship elections in Abia, Kogi, Bayelsa, INEC declared the elections inconclusive despite the emergence of a winner. In Abia, the Court of Appeal said INEC cannot do so when a winner has emerged but the Supreme Court gave judicial approval for re-run/inconclusive elections.
”2015 INEC Guidelines, Pages 22 – 23, Paragraph 4, Section N issued pursuant to Section 153 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) empowers INEC to declare election inconclusive where the margin of victory is less than the number of registered voters in cancelled Polling Units.
”PDP can challenge the decision of INEC. But nothing will come out of it going by the reasons given by the Commission. PDP should prepare for the rerun and not dissipate energy and resources on fruitless legal niceties. Under our current electoral jurisprudence, everything is against the petitioner”.