Before the Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections, the Labour Party (LP) has requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) include its party logo on all ballot papers throughout the nation and where the logo has been omitted, or postpone the elections until it fixes the error.
The Labour Party‘s logo was missing from ballot papers for the Senate and House of Representatives in Lagos and Ondo states, which was found on Thursday. On Wednesday, the electoral commission received sensitive materials for the Presidential and National Assembly elections ahead of Saturday.
In response to the absence of the party’s emblem on the ballots, a leader of the Labour Party said on Thursday, “We hope that INEC would be transparent as the umpire. Transparent in the sense that all of the work done in advance of this election should be made available to the public so that the electorate is aware of it.
“The election materials that were produced for the Saturday elections were not made available until a few days before the elections, and it was only this morning by pure coincidence that we learned that INEC had made this inexcusable mistake.
“It is not a trivial blunder that the ballot papers do not include the logo of the Labour Party, a significant candidate in the Saturday elections. Nobody can just ignore it; it cannot be done. Because many Nigerians, particularly Lagos residents, would be prevented from exercising their civic rights on Saturday, INEC must acknowledge that this was a purposeful attempt and act immediately to rectify it. Otherwise, these elections cannot be viewed as transparent, free, fair, or credible.
“For this reason, we urge INEC to act promptly, either by making the necessary corrections and adding the Labour Party’s logo to the ballots or by postponing the elections. The most essential point, though, is that all of our Labour Party candidates must be fairly represented.”
Dayo Ekong, the chairperson of the Labour Party in Lagos State, expressed his outrage at the absence of the party’s logo on the ballots in a statement and urged the INEC to either fix the errors or reschedule the National Assembly elections.
Ekong said in a statement that the deliberate “mistake” was discovered in Lagos this morning during the usual check of election materials by my executive members. He then called attention to the development among Nigerians and the international community.
“It was determined after inspection that the LP was not included for the Senate and House of Representatives elections. This is wrong and a cunning tactic to rob voters in Lagos State of their right to vote.
“Given that INEC did not make provisions for the election of the Party’s Senate and House of Representatives Candidates, it is inconceivable that the people in Lagos will just vote for the Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate in the elections scheduled for Saturday, February 25. This is unacceptable to us because we do not feel that INEC committed a mistake; rather, we believe that it was a premeditated, malevolent, and intentional attempt to prevent our supporters from exercising their civic rights.
Even though the list and court orders for the Lagos LP candidates were properly submitted to INEC and recognized, further checks on the IN website indicated that the names of the candidates had not been uploaded. We have repeatedly drawn attention to the State INEC REC’s partiality toward our Party and his escalating criticism of our leaders.
In a same vein, the party has demanded that the general elections scheduled for this Saturday in Ondo State be postponed after learning that its emblem was also missing from the ballots.
Elections for the Ondo Central Senatorial District and five House of Representative seats—Okitipupa/Irele, Ese-Odo/Ilaje, Akoko Southwest/Akoko Southeast, Ondo East/Ondo West, and Akure North/Akure South—are included on the ballots that are impacted.
“We expect INEC to take appropriate action. It was done on purpose. Abiodun Agbaje, the party’s secretary in Ondo, stated, “I don’t believe any government agency surpasses the judiciary that granted us judgment.