Factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 20 Ondo State governorship election, Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday alleged that an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanded a bribe of $1million from him in order to list his name as a candidate, despite a recent court judgement which recognised his candidacy ahead of the polls.
But, in a quick response, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, described the allegation as uncharitable and ungodly. He added that two other officials of INEC, who witnessed the encounter between Ibrahim and the INEC official, noted that the governorship candidate had tried to impress the court judgement on her.
Ibrahim and Hon Eyitayo Jegede had emerged candidates of PDP in Ondo State. But a court judgement had last Friday ruled that INEC should recognise Ibrahim as candidate.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Ibrahim made available a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the acting legal adviser of INEC, Mrs O. O Babalola, of demanding a one- million-dollar bribe from him to give effect to a court judgement, which had certified him as the candidate of the PDP.
He also said he had reported the incident to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmud Yakubu.
Ibrahim’s petition dated 21 October and addressed to the president stated in part that: “this petition is written to inform your excellence of the demand by one Mrs O.O. Babalola of INEC for the payment of one million US dollars before she would obey a court judgment marked exhibit A attached”.
Ibrahim who insisted that he remains the authentic candidate of the party in the election, also added that INEC is not an appeal Court, therefore cannot determine who is the PDP candidate in the election.
He expressed concern that an electoral body, which had said it would obey the court judgement immediately it was served, suddenly started to change its earlier stance.
He said: “After the service, the music changed. INEC should not allow one governor to destroy its reputation. We are not saying that INEC will not obey the court judgement. One of the officials demanded for one million dollar bribe from me to process the court judgement.”
The PDP chieftain also demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, saying that he is card carrying member of the party. Jimoh said he could not be trusted to conduct a free and fair election in the state.
However, in his reaction Ibrahim, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said: “It is not true that Mrs Babalola demanded $1million bribe from Jimoh Ibrahim. Two other officials of INEC witnessed the encounter between Mrs Babalola and Jimoh Ibrahim. Jimoh Ibrahim brought a copy of his judgement and wanted to impress it on INEC to collect it. But we told him that we already have it. It is uncharitable and ungodly of a businessman of his stature to make this kind of allegation.”