Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Social Democratic Party (SDP), is not treating the disqualification of its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, ahead of Kogi State governorship election, with cuddling gloves, as it has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Spokesman, Festus Okoye had, on a television programme, said the leadership of SDP accepted that the party would not be included on the ballot for the contest because it fielded an underage deputy candidate.
But SDP National Chairman, Professor Tunde Adeniran, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, faulted the claim, and described it as “unwarranted insult, falsification of information and misrepresentation of our party.”
He argued that: “the deputy governorship candidate is not a product of the party’s primary but a nomination of the‘ governorship candidate, and she has the prerogative to change or withdraw this candidate. Why was Natasha refused this right?
“There have been growing insinuations and suspicious that the actions of INEC to clamp down on our candidate, Natasha Akpoti, might be linked to influence, manipulations and interests outside of INEC itself. Why is INEC allowing itself to be influenced by other interests in the case of Natasha? Why did the INEC’s spokesman have to lie against SDP on television?
“This unwarranted disqualification action by INEC has further called to question the integrity and credibility of democratic institutions in Nigeria. Why would INEC be ready to undermine or dent the system because of Natasha?
“In conclusion, the SDP has resorted to court action to seek justice and we enjoin Kogi electorate and the teeming supporters of Barrister Akpoti to keep faith because we will overcome. We will get justice and our Natasha will certainly be on the ballot in November 16, governorship election. She will be voted for massively and she will win the election.”