The decision by INEC to recognize Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Ondo state is perhaps one of the most unsavory and disturbing interventions in our political space since the dawn of democracy. The decision is not only wrong, it is an inexcusable assault upon justice, fairness and morality.
By all measures of equity and appropriateness, Jimoh Ibrahim cannot claim to be the bonafide candidate of our party in Ondo state. Even Ibrahim’s card carrying membership in PDP is still a subject of debate. Ibrahim went to an hotel room in Oyo state and declared himself a candidate of an election that will decide who will govern Ondo state! What a travesty of rationality !
Meanwhile everyone, including INEC and all the law enforcement agencies, witnessed the well televised Ondo state gubernatorial primary which produced Barrister Eyitayo Jegede as the lawful PDP candidate. It was an event well covered by both the print and electronic media. Even until Abang’s mischievous ruling INEC had rightly listed Jegede as the legitimate candidate of PDP.
Now why upset the apple-cart ? Ondo state had been peaceful, calm, without any hitches. Campaign had been going on without rancor.
The Justice Okon Abang ruling which had forced the hands of INEC has now created tension and deep- seated uncertainties everywhere.
I appeal to President Buhari as an officer and a gentleman to ensure that justice invariably prevails in Ondo state. Though the case is now before the appellate court, the body language of our president is equally important in ensuring the preservation of our democratic tenets. Justice must not only be done in this case, it must be carried out swiftly and smoothly to convince our people that truth and fairness are the most crucial ingredients of democracy.
We cannot stand by and be indifferent when injustice is being committed. Someday some character may go to Cotonou and declare himself President of Nigeria! Is that not an absurdity? That is exactly the danger we face now if the present madness is allowed to endure.
Our judges must at all times refrain from arbitrary rulings that can plunge our democracy into the abyss. Justice must prevail in Ondo state. Decency and fair play must determine the outcome of the appellate ruling.
I appeal to my brother the governor of Ondo state Dr Olusegun Mimiko and the good people of Ondo state whom I was privileged to govern about 30 years ago to keep the peace and maintain civility even in the face of this unbridled provocation. I know that this injustice will not endure. This darkness will pass. Justice, truth and common sense will eventually triumph over arbitrariness and the brazen attempt to steal the people’s mandate.
- Chief Olabode George, a chieftain of PDP, is Atona Odua of Yorubaland