THERE may be no end yet to the controversy trailing the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Henry Seriake Dickson, in the February 11, 2012, governorship election in Bayelsa State, as about 20 candidates from various political parties have threatened to boycott the election if the PDP refuses to abide by the decision of the court in selecting its candidate.
Meanwhile, Governor Timipre Sylva has faulted the PDP’s leadership over INEC’s withholding of the publication of candidate for the party in the February election.
He said the diatribes against the commission aimed at compromising the commission from its adherence to the rule of law on the Bayelsa State governorship race was a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement issued and signed by the various parties’ candidates under the aegis of Committee of Bayelsa State Governorship Candidates and made available to journalists through its Chairman, Kenneth Gbalikumo, governorship candidate of ARP, and the secretary, Johnson Opuzi, the governorship candidate of CPN, they also threatened to go to court to stop INEC from conducting the election if the court’s decision was not adhered to by the PDP.
The statement reads in parts: “If for any reason other than the court’s decision, which we all shall accept as law-abiding citizens, we will use any legitimate means, including boycotting the elections and taking the matter to the court, to stop INEC from conducting the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election.
“In Nigeria, INEC is the final authority besides the courts in election matters. And having exercised that legitimate authority within the statutory time limit and come to the conclusion that there are 35 governorship candidates and political parties recognised to participate in the February 11, 2012 polls, we urge the commission to remain forthright till the end of the process”.
The body further urged INEC to strongly guard against being cajoled, forced or pressured by any party, group of individuals or interest groups, to foist a candidate that had not been cleared by the court’s ruling in the PDP subsisting litigation, among others.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Doifie Ola, Sylva observed that INEC did the right and lawful thing by acknowledging that the issue of PDP governorship candidate in Bayelsa State for the February 11, 2012, election was a subject of inconclusive litigation. The governor added that INEC’s position was in line with a subsisting court
order, which the Court of Appeal has upheld.
Sylva added that the PDP leadership should allow INEC to follow the law, instead of putting pressure on the commission and trying to arm-twist it to change its lawful democratic position.