Labour Party Edo Gov Ticket in Jeopardy as Running Mate Submits False Information to INEC | #NwokeukwuMascot

 Politics 

…Labour Party Edo Gov Ticket In Jeopardy As Akpata's Running Mate Submits False Information To INEC; Claims She Was Born Same Year She Obtained First School Certificate | #NwokeukwuMascot


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INEC recently published the list of governorship and deputy governorship candidates for the September 21, 2023 election in Edo State.

The list displayed at the INEC office in Benin City contained particulars of candidates and their political parties in line with Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 which requires the electoral body to publish particulars of candidates for public scrutiny.

 

There are strong indications that the LP Deputy Governorship candidate Mrs Alufokhai may have submitted false information on her form EC9 as displayed by the commission.

 

On page 2 of her affidavit sworn at the Epe Division of the High Court on March 22, 2024, Alufokhai stated that she was born on May 18, 1981 in Imo State; yet on page 4 of the same affidavit, she claimed that she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate in 1981 - the same year she was born.


It was reported that under the law, anybody who gives false information on oath has committed an offence of perjury and is liable under Section 118 of the Criminal Code to 14 years imprisonment.

 

It was gathered that the Labour Party governorship candidate, Akpata, had been unsettled since the discrepancies were noticed.

Investigation had revealed that the possibility that it could have been a mistake was considered. However, it was also learnt that Akpata had been lobbying to replace his running mate before the April 15, 2024 deadline INEC had fixed as the last day for the replacement of candidates.

 

However, Section 33 of the Electoral Act states that “…a political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted…except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate”.

 

Newsmen learnt that in turn, Mrs Alufokhai has informed the party that she has no intention of withdrawing; and has pushed back at Akpata, claiming he should be the one replaced because he deposed in his affidavit that he had not only taken up a second nationality in a foreign country but that he had also sworn an oath of total allegiance to Vanuatu’s President.

 

“How can anyone be talking about primary school certificate when they themselves have sworn that they are loyal to a foreign country? Olu should remove the log in his eye before he comes to harass me,” a member of the party executive council said he overheard Mrs Alufokhai saying at its secretariat in Abuja.

 

Akpata, who is a cousin of Governor Godwin Obaseki, is from the majority Edo South. He seems to have tried to play a game of numbers when he decided to pick his running mate from Edo North – the second-largest voting population bloc in the state.

 

Sources informed SaharaReporters that Akpata's controversial emergence as the LP governorship candidate in the alleged heavily dollarized party primaries meant he had to concede the selection of his deputy to Julius Abure and other party chieftains as part of his commitment to the reconciliation process.

 

According to the sources, they reportedly convinced him that Mrs. Yinka Alufokhai “was a powerful grassroots mobiliser; and that as a young woman with Igbo roots, the Obidient Movement would easily adopt her”.

 

Many Labour Party chieftains have faulted the choice of Mrs Alufokhai, who was sacked a year ago as Owan West Local Government Chairman for allegations of fraud and anti-party activities. Sources close to Akpata say he is now convinced she is part of a plot concocted by the LP National Chairman Abure to sabotage his ticket after the latter’s public humiliation and arrest days before the LP governorship primaries in Benin City, one of the sources said.

 

Before Akpata emerged as LP candidate, Abure had publicly stated that he believed that for equity, fairness and justice, power should rotate to Edo Central. Several LP aspirants have since passed public votes of no-confidence on the LP primaries and the LP candidate.

 

On his part, Akpata is also enmeshed in deep controversy over the Oath of Allegiance he swore to another country and revealed in the particulars displayed by INEC.

In a shocking revelation, Akpata swore an Oath of Allegiance to Vanuatu – a small island country with a population of about 350,000 people. To become an honorary citizen which gives you a Vanuatu passport, one is expected to make a ‘minimum donation’ of $US130,000 to the government. Vanuatuan passports provide visa-free travel to 113 countries.

 

While Nigerian law does not prohibit Nigerians from taking dual citizenships; swearing an oath of allegiance to a foreign power might disqualify a candidate from seeking public office.

 

The National Working Committee of the party is jittery over the revelations and has summoned an emergency meeting to address the new developments.

 

Meanwhile, efforts made by SaharaReporters to get the reaction of Mrs Alufokhai on the discrepancies were unsuccessful as she neither answered her calls nor replied to a text message sent to her, requesting her comment.

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