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Anambra 2021: PDP, APGA has no candidate yet – INEC insists

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By Lawrence Nwimo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has clarified that the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Peoples Democratic Party presently has no candidate for November 6 Governorship election in Anambra State.

The body said that the list it published on July 16 which listed Rt. Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji as the candidate of APGA while no name was shortlisted for the PDP still subsists and remains sacrosanct.

The commission said until it meets to understudy the various new pronouncements by the courts of the land concerning political Parties and their primaries, it is for now maintain statusquo in compliance to the provisions of Sections 285 and 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).

Recall that there have been several and confusing court orders from different Courts of law in the land over who are the true candidates of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the main opposition, People’s Democratic Party in the State.

Orient Daily had reported that a few days after INEC published the name of the member of the House of Representatives for Aguata Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji who won the factional primary of the Jude Okeke faction as the APGA candidate, Prof Charles Soludo who emerged winner at the Victor Oyeh faction’s primaries was ordered for inclusion in the list by an Anambra High Court.

On the other hand, the PDP which had no candidate on the INEC’s July 16 published list had remained unknown due to conflicting court orders. While Sen. Ugochukwu Uba who emerged the Party’s factional candidate in a primary conducted by the Oguebego faction, Valentine Ozigbo who emerged winner at a primary held by the Umeaba and monitored by the Party’s NWC and ZWC all had conflicting court orders from a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction asking the commission to publish their names as the authentic flag-bearers of the Party.

However, the National Commissioner of INEC in Charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, while speaking yesterday in Channel’s Television’s Politics Today dismissed reports that it has added any of the aspirants in the list, saying that the commission has not sat to decide its next line of action on the fate of the candidates following the multiple court decisions.

The INEC commissioner stated that “INEC cannot micro-manage the parties and that parties must resolve their differences internally and not heap it on the electoral body.

According to him, “going by the provisions of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, INEC as an institution respects the rule of law and due process as has been enjoined by the constitution to enforce the judgments, orders and decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction.”

He maintained that the electoral umpire “would continue to respect and enforce court orders, so long as such relate to the functions and powers of INEC.”

His words, “If there are new court orders that are coming at the appropriate time and within the confines of the guidelines, rules and procedures of the commission, the body will meet and look at the judgments.”

He maintained that if the judgments of the court are clear, it will receive the full compliance of the commission as he said it is the job of the body to enforce the judgments and decisions of the court.

According to Okoye, “Sen Ugochukwu Uba and Prof Charles  Soludo are not in the INEC list of candidates. We know that the court orders have come but at the appropriate time and during the commission’s meeting, we would look at some of these court orders and understand what we have been asked to do.”

Speaking on the persisting leadership crisis rocking political parties, Okoye reminded that INEC is not a political party and would not micro- manage any political party. “If political Parties have issues and problems, they should use the internal mechanisms of the Party to deal with some of their problems.

“The parties have suits in different courts of law and it is within their own competence that they tackle those problems, No individual constitutionally owns a political party, but some of these Party leaders when they talk, claims ownership of parties.

Constitutionally, the Party belongs to the people and there is a constitutional way to change leadership at every stipulated point. The moment they begin to see the party as their own, that is when they see any leadership challenge as a personal challenge,” Okoye stated.

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