A former Director of Publicity and Voter Education of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi has said that INEC does not have the right to disqualify a candidate because of drug allegations levelled against him.
He was reacting to the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.
Recall that Obi in a petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja called for the disqualification of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu over his alleged drug trafficking indictment in the US.
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Osaze-Uzzi, in his reaction on Arise TV, said only the court has the right to disqualify a presidential candidate found wanting in such a case.
He said, “Election petitions are unique, they are different from normal criminal and normal civil procedures. So a unique system will need to deal with its approaches both in evidence and terms of the necessary parties involved. For example, If you say a candidate is not qualified because of a drug allegation or because he’s been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, INEC still cannot disqualify him.
“The commission has no right to disqualify him, no matter who the party presents in an election, INEC will have to register such an individual. Only the Court has the power to disqualify so in that kind of case, they don’t know anything about this person’s qualifications. The electoral act as it stands now says that INEC must be a party in all of these cases and it will be bound by the decision.”