2023 : Shine Your Eyes; Absolute Power To INEC Chairman Dangerous – Olanipekun tells Political Parties 

Legal Icon and Chairman Body of Benchers ,Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN) has charged the  political parties to “shine their eyes”, and monitor  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and  the returning officers during the 2023 General  election.
He stressed that this became imperative so that nothing untoward happens to any party or candidate returned to be unreturned again.
Olanipeku, who spoke  after a private visit to Governor Biodun Oyebanji, in his office in Ado-Ekiti  therefore tasked the National Assembly to ,as matter of urgency ” regulate the powers of the  Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as enshrined in the Electoral Act.
“ To me is a very dangerous section, so novel in the sense that, here you have a section that empowers a returning officer after returning to review his decision within a period of seven days”
According to him ,” In Section 65 of the Electoral Act ,  “the returning officer is not a court of law,  not a tribunal, not vested with jurisdiction to exercise quasi- decision or to assume jurisdiction over any matter that is judicial in nature”
He pointed out that he is  not aware of any similar section in any of any similar section in  previous electoral act, or  any similar section in any of the electoral act of any country in the world.
 “When you now invest in a returning officer of  INEC, the power to do and undo, the power to return and review his  decision is dangerous to the polity”
“The Chief Returning Officer, is the Chairman of INEC, meaning you can return someone as President today, and tomorrow, when there are  agitations here and there, he may  withdraw his  decision, saying  “I am revising myself and am now returning somebody else”
Chief  Olanipekun, said he was so surprised that the National Assembly  have  to allowed that section to crept into the electoral act which they submitted to Mr. President for signing.
 He  urged  the  national assembly members that they  can still remove that proviso and called on all  stakeholders, particularly the political parties to “shine their eyes”, to monitor INEC, the returning officers, so that nothing untoward happens to any party, any candidate returned to be unreturned again.

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