Ahead tomorrow’s conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) direct primary to produce its standard-bearer for the Edo State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) appears to be in a quandary on whether or not to supervise the process.
Tribune Online investigation revealed that the Professor Mahmoud Yakubuled INEC may have decided to tread with caution following the correspondence to his office by a faction of the new leadership at the ruling party national secretariat led by the deputy national secretary, Victor Giadom.
Aside Giadom, the national vice-chairman, SouthSouth, Hillard Eta, has also pronounced himself as chairman in an acting capacity.
Eta claimed to have assumed the office following the absence of the deputy national chairman (south), Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Giadom, in a letter, addressed to INEC national chairman dated June 18, 2020, declared that he assumed the position of the party national chairman following the judgment of Justice Mohammed Lamido of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which affirmed the decision of an Abuja High Court of Justice Danlami Senchi that earlier validated Oshiomhole’s suspension by his ward in Edo State.
Giadom’s letter which asked the INEC to disregard subsequent correspondence from any other members of the APC NWC reads in part: “I want to respectfully through this medium bring it to your attention that I have been appointed as the acting national chairman of the APC.
“A copy of the order of the FCT High Court, Abuja affirming my authority as the acting national chairman of the APC is herewith attached. Please, note that the earlier judgment of the FCT High Court suspending Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from office on March 4, 2020, as affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on June 16, 2020. Mr Oshiomhole’s appeals were dismissed on that date. Copies of the orders of the court in the two cases are herewith attached for your perusal.
“As the acting national chairman of the party, all processes, documents, and communications including those concerning the conduct of elections meant for the APC are to be served on me,” he said in the letter.
The Eta faction has since constituted a team led by Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinmma, to supervise the primary tomorrow.
Asked by Tribune Online if the INEC would accord Victor Giadom recognition, a senior staff of the electoral body, who craved for anonymity, acknowledged the correspondence from his faction but noted that the commission was yet to take a position.
He said: “Yes, we have received correspondence from Giadom, but we are still watching the situation because we don’t want to take a position that will make people see us a biased umpire.
“You know there is another judgment delivered in Port Harcourt, restraining the same Giadom from parading himself.”
Asked if the commission would send its officials to monitor the primary fixed for tomorrow being organised by the Hillard Eta faction of the party, the source said, “In all honesty, we haven’t taken a decision whether to supervise or not. As I said, we want to look at all the prevailing court pronouncements.”
Another management staff of INEC responded to Tribune Online enquiry thus: “We are looking at the sky. It is still foggy, but the commission will be guided by processes to make a decision when it meets next week.
“Our commission is yet to make a decision. Probably next week, after our meeting on Tuesday, a statement will be made by the commission on the issue,” he said.