By Mumini Abdulkareem
The Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mallam Garuba Attahiru Madami has reacted to the raging controversy between the state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the sack of the lawmaker representing Ilorin South constituency at the House of Assembly by the Court of Appeal.
Madami who resumed duties on Monday after his month-long leave, spoke exclusively to National Pilot on the issue in his office.
Although, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the sacked lawmaker, Hassan AbdulAziz Elewu initially congratulated Hon AbdulRaheem Agboola over the issue, the APC lawmaker later rejected the court verdict adding that he was not a party to the appeal court ruling from inception, a position Agboola disagreed with.
Elewu had continued to attend sitting since then and later approached the High Court for stay of execution of the judgment pending the determination of the case.
But Madami while speaking with this reporter on the issue called on the House to leave INEC out of its politics adding that the action of the lawmakers was illegal. He said the House should do the needful on the matter and swear-in the PDP candidate and it should officially write to the commission if it wants any letter to swear-in Agboola.
The INEC boss however assured that the commission would continue to leave up to the expectation of the people adding that they should continue to support and pray for the Governor in his task to develop the state.
Hear him: “The Certificate of Return is what is offered to any elected official to resume duties at the House of Assembly, House of Representatives or senate. There is no any other letter that is given to that effect. If the Kwara State House of Assembly demands a letter, then they should right to us officially and we will reply them that we only give Certificate of Return in this instance. That is what the PDP candidate need to sit.
“We are not part of their politics and they should not involve us in it, INEC Kwara under my watch has never been political and I will never be. I am a very neutral, sincere and straightforward person and I don’t want this issue to affect that. Therefore I want to appeal to the Speaker to allow the PDP man to go and seat because what they are doing presently is illegal. All the present crop of lawmakers there now where only given certificates.
On when will the commission conduct election to fill the vacant seat of late Hon Salihu Ahmed Rufai of Patigi constituency, Madami said “the procure is that the House and the party are supposed to write to us informing us of the development for us to organise a rerun. But as I speak to you coming back from my one month leave, we have not received any letter to the effect.
“On Monday, when I sent two of my staff to the House of Assembly on the issue, the security men at the gate told them the Speaker and Clerk were not around. Rerun will be organised three months from the date we receive the notification. I am appealing to them to write us so that we can move ahead.
“My advice to all parties concerned and Kwarans is that we should play politics with decorum and be sincere with whatever we are doing. We should allow bygone to be and work to get the applause of the people. The past must be pushed aside, the present and future must be exploited to make Kwara better and the people happy. There is need for the people to exercise patience, development will come gradually and we must continue to pray to continue to leave in peace and harmony which the state is known for. The Governor must be commended for giving the women a chance with appointment”, he noted.
He assured that INEC under him will continue to conduct a better, free and fair election in Kwara adding that subsequent elections by the commission will be better that the previous ones and revealed that all the his staff will undergo training and retraining to prepare them ahead for the task.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the APC candidate have dragged INEC to federal court for the commission not to give the PDP candidate certificate. The commission has filed a preliminary objection to the issue which has been adjourned to January 20. The PDP candidate has also approached the Appeal Court for contempt proceedings against the Speaker and Clarke over the issue.