ABEOKUTA – The Ogun state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate a governorship aspirant of the party, Jimi Lawal for allegedly forging the delegates’ list presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the governorship primary election.
The party accused Lawal of forging the delegates’ list in conspiration with top officials of INEC to “deceive, manipulate and misrepresent facts”.
Lawal and his loyalists had raised an objection and rejected a delegates’ list purportedly brought from national secretariat of the party during the May 25 governorship primary of the party which produced Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party.
Lawal who presented another delegates’ list as the authentic list alleged that, the persons on the list used by electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses.
Following this, three members of the party, Taiwo Olabode Idris, Kehinde Akala and Alhaji Ayinde Monsuri dragged the party, Adebutu and the INEC to a Federal High court sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital, challenging the authenticity of the delegates’ lists used for the conduct of the primaries.
Delivering her judgment, Justice O.O Oguntoyinbo nullified all the primary elections conducted by the party in the state.
Justice Oguntoyinbo also ordered the party to conduct fresh primaries within the next 14 days.
But, the party in separate petitions by its lawyer, Oladimeji Hassan Balogun, dated Thursday, October 27, to the chairmen of EFCC and ICPC, demanded the investigation of Lawal and some officials of INEC in the state for allegedly suppressing the authentic delegates’ list of the party.
The party in another petition, also dated Thursday October 27 and addressed to the national chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, accused the Head of Department and Party Monitoring of the state INEC and Director of Election and Party Monitoring department at INEC headquarters in Abuja of “deliberate and criminal suppression of PDP authentic delegates’ list with the view to fraudulently substitute the original documents with an unlawful delegate result purportedly submitted by Lawal”.
The party, therefore called for the investigation of the INEC officials involved in the alleged fraud.
The petition, a copy of which was obtained by our reporter reads in part: “the suppression of those documents was deliberately effected to give undue advantage to a particular aspirant who, relying on the purported fraudulent delegates’ list went ahead to institute legal proceedings against the party.
“Lawal in collusion with others directly benefited from the deliberate suppression of the authentic 2022 Ogun state PDP delegate results by two officials of the INEC in Ogun state and the commission HQ, Abuja.
“Mr. Jimi Lawal, knowing that the said purported delegate results sheet was fraudulently produced, arrogantly went ahead to present the same documents in court which were relied upon by judges to rule against the PDP at two separate Federal High courts sitting in Abeokuta and Abuja.
“Our client is of the belief that considering the years of service of the INEC officials involved, both of them knew for sure that the purported delegate result presented by Mr. Jimi Lawal was forged, but still went ahead to collect, transmit and officially acknowledge the same documents with reckless impunity.
“We hereby humbly request that your commission empowered under the relevant statutory Anti-corruption enactments in force in Nigeria should immediately commence an investigation to ascertain the extent of the involvement of Jimi Lawal in the illegal, unethical and fraudulent suppression of the authentic Ogun state PDP 2022 Ad-Hoc delegate result by INEC officials.”
Our correspondent who sighted both delegates’ lists of Lawal and that of PDP observed that, party’s list carries the party’s logo while the Lawal’s list does not carry party’s logo.
It was also observed that, the party’s list was signed by members of the electoral committee, set up by the National Working Committee (NWC) to conduct the delegate election, while that of Lawal was not signed by no known personality with a forged stamp of the State Party secretary.
Reacting to this, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Mr. Niyi Ijalaye said, he was unaware of the petition.
Ijalaye said, “One, I have not sighted the petition, number two, the petition was not addressed to me. If there is a forgery, that is a matter for the police, but personally, I’m unaware of that document to any forgery.
“But, if there is actually a forgery or an alleged forgery, it must be a matter to be investigated by the security agencies. I don’t know about it. Forgery is a crime against the state, I think it is a matter that should be rightly handled by the security agencies.”