Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has been accused of mounting pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the dates of the National Assembly and State Assemblies elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
Recall that INEC had advised political parties to adhere strictly to the April 4 to June 3, 2022 timeline for the conduct of primary elections for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 general elections.
According to SaharaReporters reported that Fayemi was not comfortable having the All Progressives Congress (APC) conduct the primaries before the governorship election slated for June 18, 2022, in the state.
To this end, and leveraging on his position as the Chairman of Governors Forum, “he has initiated moves to influence some top directors and officials of the INEC with millions of naira to raise a memo against the conduct of Presidential, National and State Assemblies Primaries in Ekiti and Osun states,” a top source said.
Ekiti and Osun state governorship elections will be held on June 18 and July 16, 2022.
Another source added that the governor hinged his argument for the postponement of the 2023 primary elections in both Ekiti and Osun states on the ground that INEC would be able to monitor the governorship elections in both states in the South-West effectively.
The source added that the actual reason why Governor Fayemi was trying to force INEC to shift the timetable was far from being noble.
“It is simply self-seeking and driven by a sinister motive. The governor has induced INEC directors with millions of naira to raise all manners of memoranda to convince INEC Commissioners and the Chairman to shift the conduct of the 2023 primary elections because of the proposed governorship elections in both Osun and Ekiti states.
“He is claiming that the postponement of the election will enable INEC officials to participate in the governorship elections in both states, which is not tenable.
“INEC officials will not conduct the primaries for the political parties; their responsibility is just to monitor the election to determine whether parties comply with the Electoral Act or not and it will be concluded latest by June 3; so INEC still has two to three weeks before the Ekiti Governorship Election and seven weeks before the Osun election.”
Another source said, “The governor may have a sinister motive for mounting pressure on INEC Directors to raise a memo to that effect.
“He is definitely not happy that the Presidential, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly primaries will hold before the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti because that will not give him any room to manipulate the primaries as planned, more so that he is nursing presidential ambition and he is trying to enforce support for that ambition on the part of every political office seeker in Ekiti.
“He wants to deceive everybody to work with him during the June 18 governorship elections and thereafter make support for his presidential ambition a condition for securing a ticket at the Presidential, National Assembly and House of Assembly primaries.”
Some party stakeholders and legal practitioners in Ekiti and Osun states who are privy to this information are allegedly getting ready to sue INEC if it succumbs to the pressure from Governor Fayemi by postponing and isolating the APC national and state primary elections in contravention of the Electoral Act.
According to them, Governor Fayemi is just using flimsy excuses to try to derail the party primaries in order to perpetuate his sinister motive which may likely further destabilise the party in Ekiti State. They added that after the primary elections, there is enough time for INEC, parties and other critical stakeholders to prepare for the governorship election slated for June 18, 2022.