Ekiti election: Segun Oni sues REC for contempt

Ekiti election: Segun Oni sues REC for contempt
Segun Oni, the Social Democratic Party's (SDP) candidate for governor in Ekiti State in the June 18 election, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Adeniran Tela, the resident electoral commissioner in Ekiti, yesterday for allegedly disobeying the Tribunal's ruling.

According to Oni, the Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, was sued for allegedly disobeying the Election Petitions Tribunal's decision and giving him free access to election documents used in the just concluded election.

In the same spirit, Oni accused the REC of considering and attempting to thwart his case at the Tribunal in a separate petition dated August 29, 2022 and sent to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

Addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on behalf of the legal team, Mr Owoseeni Ajayi, said they took the action to challenge Tela’s directive to Oni to approach the INEC office in Abuja, rather than Ado-Ekiti, to get election materials to prosecute his case.

Ajayi said: “Following the filing of our petition, we requested some documents to prosecute our case. We also made the case to inspect some election materials, which the Tribunal granted.

“We were taken aback when a letter dated 23rd August 2022 personally signed by REC and addressed to the respondent said the party /counsel should write to INEC headquarters, Abuja for the documents/materials as stated in the court order.

“This letter was most uninformed and contemptuous of the court for the fact that in the meeting held with parties on August 22, 2022, by REC, there was no discussion about the parties writing to INEC headquarters, Abuja because we purely acted on court order.

“Inspection of election materials was never done in Abuja, but at the state head office. It is therefore contemptuous for the REC to vary the order of the Tribunal by instructing parties to write to the INEC office, Abuja. This was strange, unlawful and beyond understanding. It has never happened anywhere.

“It is, therefore, clear that the REC was acting a script of impunity to frustrate the Petitioner’s case. Nigerians must take note of this dubious act of INEC’s attempt to derail democracy in Ekiti. The opposition parties are also entitled to their rights under democracy.”

Faulting the allegations, the REC said he has nothing to fear over the suit, saying the commission and its staff had been fair to all parties, including the SDP that had been raising all manners of accusations against him.

Tela said: “I am not afraid of anything, because we are following the law. I have even directed all our staff to stay away from politics, so I have no reason to be partisan. Ours is to conduct an election and the June 18 poll was the best in history. It has earned us accolades and awards.

“I am using this time to inform all parties that INEC staff in Ekiti are not partisan and have no interest in this petition. But whoever that will get any document from us must be ready to follow all legal procedures.”
Chima Ugo is a patriotic Nigerian, a journalist, blogger and singer who is so much interested in the internet, journalism, and blogging and have been for half a decade.