From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The Labour Party (LP) has called on the returning officer and the INEC’s leadership to declare its candidate, Mr. Kolade Akinjo, who scored majority of lawful votes from the collated results, winner of the bye-election into Ilaje, Ese- Ondo Federal Constituency.
In a statement signed by the state acting chairman, Chief Dele Akinyele, the party expressed shock at the reluctance of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer to declare the winner of the bye- election into Ilaje, Ese- Ondo Federal Constituency.
The party said: “It is instructive to note that the election took place and returns were made in 21 out of 22 wards that made up the Federal Constituency. The returning officer’s duty is to collate the lawful votes from various units and wards, and declare the candidate that scored majority of lawful votes.
“The election tribunal, which was constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal has the sole responsibility and duty to determine any complaint of irregularity or compliance, or non – compliance with the law.”
The party said the use of the word “inconclusive” introduced by the returning officer to abort the will of the people will not be applicable in this case because the only condition for declaration is that the candidate must score majority of lawful votes; which has been satisfied in this case.
The introduction of the word “inconclusive” could only be applicable where there are additional requirements of spread before a winner can be declared as it required in the Presidential and governorship elections.
The party said the reluctance or refusal of the returning officer to declare or announce the obvious winner of the election constitute grave danger to the nation’s democracy.