The last may not have been heard on the allegation of forgery, levelled against the Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP PDP.
While reacting to the comments by Mr. Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the PDP State Chairman, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi accused him of attempting to intimidate, coarse and prevent the police from concluding their investigation on Sinikiem’s reported forgery which led to his arrest and detention by the police, recently.
In a statement released today, July 31, 2022, Aziegbemi called on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to put his Edo REC on watch list, due to his partisan involvement in politics.
Below is the full text of the statement:
“This statement is a follow-up to an earlier Petition written by me, as the Edo State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, against the Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem.
“The petition, amongst other things, accused the REC of forgery and falsification of results of Congresses and primaries conducted by the various panels set up and sent to the State by the NWC of our great party.
“It has become necessary to bring to the fore, and in particular, the attention of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, attempts being made to undermine our petition, especially by Mr. Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who through his press statement, tried to intimidate, coarse and prevent the police from concluding the on-going investigation of Sinikiem.
“I condemn in very strong terms, Okoye’s comments as being subvertive, and capable of ridiculing the electoral body as a transparent institution.
“There are no laws that insulates agents of INEC or any other State or Federal institutions from investigation and possibly, criminal trial, especially in a case of forgery.
“The petition is backed by facts and we had initially refrained ourselves, because the matter was before the court.
“However, now that the Appeal Court in its ruling last week affirmed that the issue of Congresses and Primaries are Political Party’s internal affairs, justice has been served in favour of the party, we challenge Sinikiem to defend himself against the very heavy proof of falsification that has been levelled against him.
“Part of the questions Sinikiem should provide answers to are: (i) What communication did he act on, regarding the addresses of venues approved by the PDP National Working Committee? (ii) What does the INEC guideline say about the organization of Congresses and Primaries of political parties? From facts at the disposal of the party, Sinikiem ignored communications from both the NWC and the office of State Chairman. As a matter of fact, he assumed the authority of our party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, and without equivocation, Sinikiem has failed to defend his verbal claim that he monitored any parallel delegates congress and Primaries in Edo State.
“PDP has records to prove that Sinikiem merely sat behind in INEC office and rubber stamped the forged papers that were passed to him by paid agents.
“In the spirit of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s determination to always deliver free, fair and transparent election, we call on him to support moves by the Edo State Commissioner of Police, to thoroughly investigate the allegation of falsification by the PDP against Sinikiem, the REC in Edo State. This is more important as the nation moves towards critical elections in 2023.
“PDP request to the police is very simple – to investigate and verify documents that Mr. Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem has been peddling as results of his imaginary congresses and Primaries.
“Sadly and painfully too, Sinikiem partisan role in the internal workings of PDP, has considerably festered division in the party.
“In the prevailing circumstance, where the police is being prevented from investigating and prosecuting Sinikiem, we shall have no other option to the fact, that he used his position as the Resident Electoral Commissioner, to cause division, disaffection, in the manner an interested party will do, in what the Appeal court has now said is the internal affair of our political party.”