Former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, has challenged the National Human Roghts Commission (NHRC) to disclose the part of the judgments of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal where he was indicted to worrant procecution
The Governing Council of the NHRC had recently recommended 41 persons to the Attorney General of the Federation for prosecution for alleged violation of electoral laws and commission of other criminal offences.
Prominent among those recommended were Osunbor, a former Speaker of the Kogi State Governor, Clarence Olafemi, and a former Independent National Electoral Commission's Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State, Mrs Ayooka Adebayo and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Christopher Oloyede.
But Osunbor in a statement he issued yesterday, rejected the report of the commission.
The former governor said he wrote to the commission to verify if indeed it made the recommendation.
He said it would be a monumental tragedy for the country if the rights commission degenerates into and becomes a willing tool for the violation of the human rights of law-abiding citizens.
Osunbor said Nigerians owe it a duty to ensure that the NHRC does not become a behemoth that tramples on the rights of citizens with impunity.
The former governor noted that for the commission to fail to let him know the offence he committed when he sought to know, it acted recklessly or mischievously to tarnish his name and defame his character.
He stated that even if the commission assumed that it “indicted” him because his election as a governor was nullified by the election tribunal and Court of Appeal due to the wrongdoing or criminal acts of others, it cannot possibly be ignorant of the law on this matter.
Arguing that it was inconceivable that the NHRC was ignorant of this law, the former governor referred it to the legal position in the case of Falae vs Obasanjo where it was held that: “The law is that even if a political party engaged in criminal activities which would disqualify a candidate, it cannot affect the candidate unless it is shown that the candidate authorised or ratified the offending conduct”
“A candidate’s liability to have his election avoided under the doctrine of election agency is distinct from and wider than liability under the criminal law…”
Osunbor, who claimed that he had never committed an offence in his life and had never been investigated by law enforcement agents in connection with any crime.
He said: "I participated as a candidate in the governorship election in Edo State in 2007 but I did not commit any offence.
“The petition challenging the election did not accuse me of committing any electoral offence.
"The reliefs sought by the petitioners and the orders granted by the courts did not include a finding against me for the commission of any offence.
"The Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal decisions on the case contain no indictment against me for the commission of any offence," he said.