Senator Joshua Dariye who is currently serving a 14-year jail term for financial misdeeds while serving as Plateau State governor has picked the nomination form to contest next year’s election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Yes, Sen. Dariye has picked a nomination form to seek a third term. It is true. He is among those jostling for the APC ticket in Plateau Central,’’ Mr Chindo Dafat, APC publicity secretary in Plateau, said yesterday in Jos, adding that the imprisoned Dariye had filled the form and submitted to the party.
“His (Dariye’s) ward secretary came and signed the form on his behalf. It has been filled and his supporters are already campaigning ahead of the party primary election,’’ he said.
According to him, Dariye will battle with three others – Zakari Dimka, Sam Piwuna and Manji Pompori – for the APC ticket.
The party official said that Dariye was “still very popular and relevant in Plateau Central in spite of his current ordeals’’, adding that the former governor “can win the primary elections from prison’’.
He said that Dariye had appealed his conviction and could have it upturned “because we are praying for him.
“Aside possible success in the appeal, we are also praying for a state pardon. That is another possibility. Dariye is very important to our party; unfortunately, this happened to him. It is not that we cannot win elections without him; we can win without him, but he has done a lot and is well loved by his people”, he added.
The Plateau APC spokesman went on to rationalise the move by the convicted senator to seek electoral office from prison.
Dafat said, “Somebody could be in the hospital or prison and pick a nomination from there. We have no right to deny anyone a nomination form. Even INEC cannot stop Dariye from contesting the 2019 elections. There is no law that stops him from buying the form. Whoever comes for the nomination form can get it. I see it as a constitutional matter. Only the court can disqualify him.
“If Dariye wins elections from prison, he will not be the first Nigerian to do that. Iyiola Omisore, from Osun, once won a Senate seat while in prison’’.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the development as “shocking, strange and embarrassing’’.
“It is shocking that a convict serving a 14-year jail term will be given a nomination form to contest an election. This is just ridiculous,’’ Mr Ben Shignugul, PDP vice chairman (Plateau Central), said.
He further noted: “The nomination form has a portion which requests aspirants to state whether they were once convicted; I wonder what information Dariye provided in that column.
“He (Dariye) is our illustrious son and we sympathise with him. We expect him to be sober and reflect on what has happened to him, instead of allowing himself to be dragged around by desperate politicians,’’ he said.
Shignugul, however, stated that the Plateau PDP executive council, led by its chairman, Damishi Sango, had recently visited Dariye in Kuje prisons and prayed for him.
“We still pray that he will serve out his 14-year jail term and come out in good health. Dariye should equally be praying, instead of attracting unnecessary attention to himself’’.
LEADERSHIP reports that section 107 sub-section 1 (d) of the Nigeria Constitution 1999, as amended, states that no person shall be qualified for election if, within a period of less than 10 years before the date of election, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty.
It also states that anyone that has been found guilty of contravening the code of conduct shall not be allowed to contest election.
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