ARP Wants Own Candidate On Ballot Papers
15000 Policemen To Provide Security
ALL is now set for election of a new governor in Bayelsa State today as Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division yesterday cleared the coast when he declared he neither stopped the polls nor summoned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman on the planned exercise as widely reported in the media.
The development came as the leadership of the African Liberation Party (ALP) cautioned INEC against disobeying the Federal High Court order on the inclusion of the party’s candidate on the ballot papers for the polls, saying any election conducted without the inclusion will be null and void.
Meanwhile, the state police command has deployed over 15, 000 policemen to provide security during the election, in conjunction with sister agencies.
Justice Okorowo who made his clarification at the hearing of a matter brought by the candidate of the ARP, Chief Kenneth Gbaligah Gbalikumah, seeking to stop the election today, called on the media to correct the story published to show the true position of the court.
The plaintiff had through his counsel, Kayode Ajulo, brought a motion ex-parte seeking to stop the election, but the court had told him to put the respondents on notice. When the matter came up yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Seriake Dickson, had brought an application seeking to be joined as a respondent. But INEC told the court that it had not been served the plaintiff’s process.
The court later adjourned the matter till March 5, but ordered the plaintiff to serve all the process on the respondents before the next adjourned date.
There has been apprehension over the polls following certain court orders said to have been secured by some political parties stopping the commission from going ahead with the election. In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, noted that as at yesterday (Friday) September 10, 2012, the commission had not been served with the said orders.
He said: “By all means, the commission is law-abiding by character, but it cannot act on orders of the court that it has not been served. It is hereby restated therefore that the governorship election inBayelsa State will hold as scheduled.” The commission appealed to voters to turn out en masse to perform their civic duty, conducting themselves peacefully and orderly as they do so.
The ARP leaders had on Thursday through its counsel, Mr. Henry Akunebu filed an ex-parte motion and prayed the Federal High Court to approve an interim injunction directing INEC to include the name of the party in the ballot for Saturday’s election. The ALP premised its application on Section 138 (1)(d) of the Electoral Act, saying the exclusion of its candidate was a violation of the Act.
The new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Chris Olakpe while briefing newsmen yesterday in his office in Yenagoa on the level of their preparedness for the election, said the command was also going to bring more anti-bomb squads from neighboring states to guide against any unforeseen circumstances