By Emma Njoku
The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will include the logo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the ballot paper for the forthcoming governorship election while the court would determine who, between Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Mathew Iduoriyekwemwen, gets the certificate of return as the authentic standard bearer of the party for the race.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos last weekend.
PDP has been enmeshed in leadership crisis which has snowballed into the emergence of two candidates from the party for the September 10 election. While Ize-Iyamu is the candidate of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party, Mathew Iduoriyekwemwen emerged as the candidate of the Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the party.
Reminded about the situation in Abia State where the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who contested the election on the platform of PDP, is being challenged in court over alleged tax evasion by another governorship aspirant, Uche Ogah, also of PDP, the INEC boss admitted the dilemma of the commission in the case of the Edo PDP since two factions are recognised by the courts. He, however, insisted that the election would go on as scheduled with PDP’s logo certain to be on the ballot paper, while the issue of the party’s candidate would be decided by the court.
“PDP’s logo will be on the ballot paper for the Edo State governorship election because the issue is about the candidate and not the party. At the end of the day, the court will tell us which candidate to give the certificate of return,” the INEC boss said.
On the spate of inconclusive elections since he took over the driver’s seat at the electoral commission, Prof. Yakubu said, “we will never declare results just for the sake of concluding elections. We’ll play by the rules. INEC will only conclude elections according to the electoral laws and within the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the votes that must count.”