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KOGI GUBER: INEC denies allegations of plot to disqualify some candidates

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INEC says court lacks jurisdiction to hear Okorocha’s suit, asks for dismissal

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied claims held in some quarters that it is plotting to use technicalities to disqualify candidates in the forthcoming Kogi governorship elections set for November 16.

Reacting to claims leveled against it by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), INEC said the allegations were premature.

In an interview with Vanguard on Tuesday, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, however conceded that the deadline for withdrawal and replacement of candidates lapsed on Monday, September 23.

“According to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship Elections, INEC will publish the final list of nominated candidates on 17th October. However, the deadline for withdrawal by Candidates or replacement of withdrawn candidates elapsed yesterday 23rd Sept. Remember that the last day for the submission of nomination forms by political parties is 2nd October.

“Therefore, it is premature at this stage to insinuate that INEC has disqualified any political party”, he stated. According to him, “the Commission has not yet taken a decision on the disqualification or otherwise of Political Parties or their candidates”.

According to APM National Chairman, Mr Yusuf Dantalle, who spoke at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, INEC is plotting to subvert the processes of the state election.

Dantalle added that the electoral commission commission wrote a letter to the party on Sept. 13, notifying it that its nomination for Kogi deputy governor, Mr Awombo Bala, was invalid because he was 30 years.

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He said that Bala was nominated on the Not Too Young to Run Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2019 general elections, “but INEC said the age required by the constitution was 35 years”.

However, Dantalle said the party is making moves to replace Bala with Mrs Olayemi Joledo-Ayomah, since Electoral Act allowed political parties to make substitution of candidate within a time frame.

“It is in the law that if you are duly nominated, INEC will make provisions for withdrawal and replacement of candidates.

“As I am talking to you 13 political parties have not been allowed to key into the political process.

“We went to INEC office with our response but they did not attend to us. INEC want to technically disallow it.

“I was approached to withdraw from the contest. Now, for those of us who refuse to withdraw, the plan is to use INEC to use legal technicality to disqualify us,” he alleged.

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