There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission may take legal action against Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, following his remarks about its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and a National Commissioner, Dr. Ishmail Igbani, during the July 14 governorship election in the state.
The governor was reported to have, among other things, described Jega as a “national embarrassment” who in his view, “cannot preside over elections in a single state.”
Apart from accusing Jega of “disenfranchising the Edo people”, Oshiomhole reportedly described Igbani as a man who is “hopelessly corrupt” and “has been involved in many elections that have been rigged in many states, including Edo.”
But INEC’s Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Kaugama, in a letter dated August 8 addressed to Oshiomhole and obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday in Abuja, warned the governor to desist from making allegations for which he could not provide any proof.
He said, “Considering the esteemed nature of the high office you hold, it will not be asking too much that, in the future, you should be statesmanly and avoid careless and disparaging remarks unbecoming of that office.
“Please take notice that this is without prejudice to any legal action the defamed persons may wish to take. While INEC recognises the tension and anxiety that could be generated by momentary hitches in election day processes, the commission believes that these do not confer the licence to savagely attack the integrity of other persons without any proof.
“If however, there is any concrete evidence of corrupt acts by any official of INEC, no matter how highly placed, you will do well to come forward with such evidence rather than make speculative but highly damaging allegations.”