Sen. Joshua Dariye, who is currently serving a 14-year jail term over money laundering and fraud charges while serving as Plateau governor, has submitted an APC nomination form to contest next year’s election.
This was confirmed by Mr. Chindo Dafat, the APC Publicity Secretary in Plateau State, Daily Trust writes.
“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,” he said, adding that Dariye had filled the form and submitted it to the party.
News had earlier filtered that Dariye had purchased form to vie for the Senate once again even as many pundits had questioned the authenticity of the claim, wondering how someone just starting a 14-year jail term could throw his hat into a contest scheduled for next year beginning with primary election next month.
“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,” Dafat said.
The party official said 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 the prison.”
He said Dariye had appealed his conviction and could have it upturned because they were praying for him.
“Aside possible success in the appeal, we are also praying for a state pardon,” he said.
On the legal implication of Dariye joining the contest, Dafat said, “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 election from prison, he will not be the first Nigerian to do that. Iyiola Omisore, from Osun, once won a Senate seat while in prison,” Dafat pointed out
Meanwhile, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 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).
“But 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,” he added.