By Mumini AbdulKareem
The Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) will today (Thursday) commence hearing of complaints arising from the screening exercise conducted for chairmanship and councillorship candidates across the 16 Local Government Areas in the state.
This is coming amidst concerns of certificate forgery allegedly bperpetrated by some candidates.
The last day for the substitution of candidates by parties has been slated for Monday 16th October, 2017 according to KWSIEC’s timetable.
KWSIEC had on Tuesday, concluded the screening of candidates from Kwara Central and Offa among others after a similar exercise had been held for those from Kwara North and Ekiti, the previous day.
However, other candidates whose processes could not be completed during the two days exercise were accommodated yesterday which include those that could not meet up with the processes.
It was gathered that some candidates were earlier turned back by the commission for failure to produce the original certificate of their tax clearance.
Although the commission maintained that it has no power to disqualify any candidate, there have been reported issues of certificate fraud.
Speaking on the matter with our reporter, last night, a top source in the commission noted that “Even if the candidates come with fake documents, we will screen them based on what they present before us because we don’t have the power to disqualify anybody.
“That will be handled by the relevant body like the court if one of them within or across parties raises the alarm on such issue.
“Some came with their receipt to the commission on Tuesday but were told to go and collect the original certificate of their tax clearance from the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.
“After they came back, we screened everybody that presented themselves and we have concluded the exercise today (Wednesday).” the source added.
When asked why the commission is going ahead with the hearing of complaints today since it has not “disqualified anyone,” another source told our reporter that: “It is the law that provides for that and it has to be fulfilled. Moreover, politicians can be funny and you never can tell considering all the dust that has been raised by the opposition over this exercise.”
Sources had confided in this medium that some candidates have reportedly engaged in “unwholesome practices” all because of the contest, adding that even some of the certificates presented may be questionable.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that about 400 chairmanship candidates and councillors were screened by the commission during the exercise.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had released the list of its chairmanship candidates after the conclusion of its consensus list in Offa, last month.
National Pilot however stumbled on the party’s councillorship full list last night and exclusively obtained that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the party’s Asa Dam secretariat.
Aside from the 12 chairmanship candidates and 129 councillors that met the deadline for registration, the list also contained names of the other four chairmanship candidates of the party in Oyun, Edu, Ifelodun and Offa and 64 councillorship candidates of the PDP that could not meet the deadline of KWSIEC.
The PDP lost out in Offa entirely for not fielding either chairmanship or councillorship candidates.