A socio-political organization, Democracy and Justice Initiative (DJI) has petitioned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega over his alleged bias in the controversial Buruku House of Representatives seat.
The organization in a petition addressed to Prof. Jega entitled, ‘Fresh Election into Buruku Federal Constituency of Benue State: Role of Prof. Attahiru Jega’, dated September 15th, 2015 and signed by John Adoyi Odoga and Terngu Msuega, Executive Director and Secretary respectively a copy which was also made available to Peoples Daily, accused INEC of playing pranks with the election.
The Buruku federal constituency seat hitherto, held by the APC was declared vacant since 30th May 2014 when the Supreme Court in its judgement sacked Hon. Orker Jev and ordered that elections be conducted within 90 days to fill the vacuum.
INEC had earlier fixed 23rd August 2014 for fresh elections as directed by the court but later suspended same citing a pending motion at the Supreme Court that was served on them as reason for the suspension.
It could be noted that while suspending the polls, the commission had through its Secretary, Mrs.Augusta C.Ogakwu in a statement said , “The suspension is sequel to a motion on notice served on the commission from the Supreme Court urging the court to set aside it’s order on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct fresh election in Buruku federal constituency”.
But the group said media reports where the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Benue was quoted as suggesting that INEC is making clandestine moves to conduct the polls and requested to know from the Chairman of the Commission if the said Motion on Notice filed on June 18, 2014 by Hon. Sekav Dzua Iortyom, which prompted the suspension of the election has been determined by the Supreme Court to warrant the conduct of the said election.
“The Chairman’s role in the Buruku Federal Constituency has left so much to be desired. While the same case instituted by Hon. Sekav Dzua Iortyom was pending at the Federal High Court, Makurdi, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega had unilaterally signed and issued a Certificate of Return to Hon. Sekav Iortyom when there was no court order to that effect. The said certificate of return worsened the matter as the Buruku Federal Constituency had two certificates of return at a point”.
The petition which also, accused both Governor Gabriel Suswam and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu who always boast that the INEC boss was his “boy” during their ASUU days stated further, “we wish to remind Prof Jega that the Constitution and the Electoral Act governing the activities of INEC it is not the purview of the Commission or that of the Chairman to conduct elections arbitrarily. The Supreme Court had ordered the conduct of election within 90 days into the Buruku Federal Constituency on May 30, 2014. 90 days has since elapsed by effluxion of time. Therefore, there is no justification whatsoever for INEC to order the conduct of any election after the expiration of the Supreme Court order”.