The All Progressives Congress, APC in Edo state hereby condemns the arrest of Mr. Johnson Alalibo, the Independent National Electoral Commission,
INEC, State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, allegedly on the orders of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Mr. Alalibo’s unwarranted, shameful and illegal arrest is not unconnected with the Governor Obaseki faction of the Edo PDP’s failure to force the Commission to do his bidding as far as the Election of PDP candidates for the 2023 general elections is concerned. Meanwhile, the REC in Edo takes orders from the INEC chairman at its Abuja headquarters and not from State governors.
Recall the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the PDP and the INEC among others to ensure that only the delegates elected at the ad-hoc delegates election monitored by INEC in the State partook in the party primaries to choose candidates for elective offices in 2023.
The said delegates thereafter participated in the primaries also duly monitored by the INEC where PDP candidates emerged accordingly. But opposed to the court ruling, the governor’s faction, which has been losing, all along, appealed. Even while the appeal was pending, the faction sponsored thugs who invade the Court of Appeal in Benin City and attacked Court officials and lawyers.
Last week, a higher court, the Court of Appeal Abuja, however, held that the issue of ad hoc delegates election of the Edo PDP remains part of the domestic affairs of the party for which the court cannot interfere under pre-election litigation.
Rather than hearing from the National Secretariat of the PDP, Governor Obaseki chose to take the law into his own hands and in a gestapo-like style on Thursday morning, ordered the invasion of the INEC offices in the state capital to arrest the REC.
For the APC and Edo people, this invasion of the INEC offices on Governor Obaseki’s orders is a disgrace and shows his total disregard for the rule of law and abject disdain for the principle of separation of powers, moreso as INEC is not an Edo State parastatal.
The action is a dangerous slide into fascism by an elected state governor in an otherwise democracy. It is also very condescending and an embarrassment to all Edo people as never before in the history of our state has any governor attacked the INEC offices or the judiciary, for that matter in the manner of Mr Obaseki, posing as military administrator.
The decent path to follow is not this gestapo-style invasion in the morning of a working week that involves the use of sledgehammers to breakdown gates and front doors for Police to gain access to the INEC offices. It is to wait on the National Headquarters of the PDP as it affects the Court ruling and to take heed.
We hereby call on the Commissioner of Police to immediately release Mr Alalibo and in addition explain the reasons behind his arrest and detention to the general public.
The APC and Edo people are so very disappointed at Governor Obaseki’s action and advises him to retrace his steps because pretending to be a military administrator instead of a civilian governor elected by law is not only crude but undemocratic and evil. It does not befit his office, which has since become in the subject of jokes and comedies across the State.
Col David Imuse RTD
APC, Edo State.