2011: GOVS. IMOKE, ONI AND SYLVA REPLY INEC.

Reacting to a statement credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that their tenure expires in May 2011, the affected governors have spoken on the subject matter.

On the possibility of INEC holding governorship election in the state in an interview in
Calabar, Cross River State Governor Lyel Imoke said such decision would
be challenged in court because it would amount to operating a
retroactive law.

He said: “There has been no judgment that was delivered to my knowledge
that says I have an election in 2011. So, we can only rely on the
provisions of the Constitution and previous pronouncement by the
Supreme Court. Based on those two things, this will be my second anniversary.

For me, whether there is a pronouncement that my election is next year and I can only do another term of four years, it
doesn’t really bother me in anyway. I try to get my people to
understand that government has to continue and don’t plan it on four
year terms.
When you plan government on four-year term, you find breakages and distortions of programmes. So, whether it is second or
third anniversary makes no difference to my mind. But the law is very
clear on this matter as we speak.”

Bayelsa govt to seek interpretation

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State government has said it would seek proper judicial
clarification on the Independent National Electoral Commission
announcement on the tenure of governors.

Though the state government had initially insisted Sylva’s tenure would terminate in 2012 in the
wake of the April 2008 Court of Appeal ordered re-run poll in which the
governor again emerged victorious.

But the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Strategy, Mr. Nathan Egba, in a fresh
statement, yesterday evening, assured that the governor was prepared to
present himself to the electorate at anytime, knowing that he has done
well to justify a second tenure.

The statement reads: “Governor Timipre Sylva wishes to assure the people of the state that there is
nothing to worry about the publication from the Independent National
Electoral Commission INEC, and some national dailies indicating that
there would be governorship elections in the state next year.

“The state government’s stance on the mater was based on the certificate of
returns issued to the governor by the same INEC following his victory
at the re-run election in 2008 and the recent ruling of the Jos Federal
High Court on the Ekiti governorship election petition.

“However, we wish to reassure the people of the state that Governor Timipre Sylva is
prepared to present himself to the electorate at anytime, knowing that
he has done well to justify a second tenure, considering his
achievements in the areas of agriculture, power generation, water,
education, road construction, health, good governance and security
amongst others.

“The government notes that INEC’s position is based on the recent amendments of the constitution by the National Assembly,
a position on which the state government would seek proper judicial
clarification.”
This was just as the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Bayelsa State descrbed INEC’s clarification as timely saying it
had put to rest controversies surrounding the authentic date of
governorship elections in the state.

Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in the state, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki
while reacting to INEC advertorial specifying states where election
will not hold noted that the commission’s position has vindicated the
Action Congress of Nigeria insistence that Governor Sylva’s tenure ends
2011 and not 2012 as claimed by the state government.

He said: “The implication of the INEC clarification is a healthy political
development for the state. It has put to
rest the controversies on tenure elongation in the state.”

Ekiti governor
reacts

Meantime, Ekiti State Governor, Engr Segun Oni, has kicked against INEC’s
declaration, saying the issue of his tenure was still pending at the
appeal court.

A statement issued in Ado Ekiti by the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Governor, Mr Wale Ojo Lanre, asked INEC to
explain what happened to the 79 days when Oni was out of office during
last year’s governorship election rerun

The statement said: “Even as we are not afraid of standing for elections
anytime provided the Constitution is followed, it must, however, be
stated that laws are not known to take retroactive effect.

“Though the issue of tenure of office of the States where by-elections were
held is still a subject of various law suits, we must state without
fear of contradiction that tenure of Governor Oni and other governors
whose elections were nullified and returned to office after winning by
rerun elections is not for the Independent National Electoral
commission, INEC, to fix. It is simply a constitutional matter.

“In the case of Ekiti, there is still a pending case at the Appeal Court
and INEC has been informed accordingly. Governor Segun Oni was sworn in
on May 29, 2007 based on the results of the April 14, 2007 governorship elections.

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