As Femi Gbajabiamila continues to sink to deeper in the scandal of the fraud case that occurred in the United States of America more than a decade ago, for which he was found guilty by the Supreme Court of Georgia, US, his biggest ally, President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have kept mute.
It is not clear whether Buhari will call for a probe into the dinghy past of the lawmaker, whom the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, publicly claimed is Buhari’s anointed candidate for the House of Representatives’ speakership.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it does not have the constitutional power to investigate the allegations of fraud and conviction against Femi Gbajabiamila by a US court.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Information, Festus Okoye disclosed this when SaharaReporters inquired if the commission will withdraw the certificate of return of the lawmaker and prosecute him for lying on oath.
Okoye said that the commission did not have power to arrest or investigate the allegations levelled against the lawmaker.
Though he admitted that the commission is empowered to prosecute any electoral offenders if the commission receive a report to that effect from the appropriate authority.
He noted that it is a pre-election matter, adding that anybody or group who is aggrieved should make a formal complaint to the appropriate authority charged with the responsibility to make arrest and investigate.
Okoye stated that INEC has not received any formal report from any authority regarding the matter.
He pointed out that the commission had conducted elections and published the names of the winners and if there is an evidence that somebody is not qualified then the person should channel his complaint to the authority that is charged with that responsibility.
He stressed that the issue now is for the appropriate agencies to investigate the allegation before the commission can prosecute.
A public affairs analyst, Mr. Jide Ojo, stated that the issue of US conviction has become a recurring decimal, adding that it is not an issue that concerns INEC. He explained that it is only the court of competent jurisdiction that can make a consequential order on the matter.
Ojo noted that the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) should allow the court to decide the case on its merit. He maintained that it is only the court that can order the withdrawal of Gbajabiamila’s certificate of return.
He argued that the electoral umpire cannot institute any investigation on the matter stressing that the Electoral Act only give the prosecutorial power to the electoral body.
The analyst wondered how the court can decide the case ahead of the inauguration of the ninth national assembly which has been slated for June 11, 2019.
Efforts to get the reaction of Mr. Smart Olanrewaju, Media Assistant to the Femi Gbajabiamila was unsuccessful as his mobile phone was switched off.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC ) have not made any official comment or statement regarding the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday the Femi/Wase Campaign Group at a press conference denied the allegations of Gbajabiamila’s conviction and threatened to take a legal action against CUPP.
SaharaReporters, New York