INEC timetable excludes PDP from Anambra Central senatorial re-run


INEC-boxThe Independent National Electoral, Commission (INEC) has excluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  from participating in the re-run election for Anambra Central senatorial zone scheduled for March 5.

In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were also excluded from participating in re-run elections in Kogi, Abia and Adamawa States respectively.

In a timetable released Tuesday for the conduct of elections as ordered by the Court of Appeal, INEC also disallowed parties from fielding new candidates for the re-run election thereby putting paid to the idea of conducting fresh primaries.

For the re-run election  in the Anambra Central senatorial district where confusion appears to be reigning over a recent Supreme Court verdict in the internal dispute involving rival PDP state executives, INEC said the party is excluded from participation.

The statement signed  by the commission’s Secretary, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, said: “Following consultations with major stakeholders in the electoral process and public interest in the subject, INEC at its meeting held on February 1, 2016, considered and approved dates for the conduct of elections as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

“Consequent upon the judgments of the court, the commission will conduct the elections in 69 of the said constituencies with the same political parties and their respective candidates who participated in the annulled elections.

“The commission further gives notice that the political parties and candidates entitled to participate in the elections in the other 11 constituencies.”

In the timetable issued by INEC, the re-run elections in 16 states of Gombe, Adamawa, Kaduna; Plateau; Niger; Benue; Nasarawa; Kogi; Taraba; Imo, Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom; Cross River, and Rivers are scheduled to be conducted between February 13 and March 19,  2016.

INEC also listed parties and candidates who will be qualified to take part in the court-ordered re-run elections during the period.

In Abia State constituency election for  Aba North, the commission said  the same parties and candidates are to partake  excluding APGA and its candidate, while in Adamawa federal constituency comprising Demsa/Numan/Lamurde, the same parties except the SDP and it’s candidate will slug it out.

For the Anambra Central senate re-run election and Plateau State Lantang federal constituency, INEC said the same parties and candidates, excluding PDP, are to present candidates whereas for the Kaduna State assembly (Lere West), the commission said same parties and candidates except APC are to present new candidates.

In the Kogi  Central and Kogi East senatorial districts,  INEC approved that the same parties and candidates excluding APC and its candidate contact.

Similarly,  INEC excluded APC and its candidates from the re-run elections in Kogi federal constituency (Okene/Ogori/ Mangogo), Ofu Ankpa state assembly constituency and Niger State House of Assembly  election in Suleija constituency.

Although INEC  did not  expressly provide reasons for the exclusion of some of the political parties from the re-run election, it was implied that the commission might have based its action on the court judgments which disqualified the parties and their candidates.

Meanwhile, members of the National Assembly from Anambra State have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja asking it to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission from withdrawing their certificates of return.

In a motion on notice filed by their lawyer, Chief Arthur Okafor (SAN), the lawmakers also sought an order of interlocutory injunction pending the determination of the substantive suit filed by them seeking to stop the President of the Senate from swearing in any other persons as members representing their constituencies.

The lawmakers who filed the suit are Senators Andy Uba and Stella Oduah. Others are Anayo Nnebe, Eucharia Azodo, Chris Azubogu, Obinna Chidoka, Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, Tony Nwoye Okechukwu and Chukwuka Onyema all members of the House of Representatives.

They said there was an imminent danger of INEC giving in to the pressure being mounted on it by the Ejike Oguebego-Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They also said the Senate President might also succumb to such pressure unless the court issued and order I their favour.

The lawmakers became jittery following last Friday’s judgment of the Supreme Court which held that the Ejike Oguebego-led Executive of the PDP was the recognised faction of the party.

Although the Supreme Court did not ask the Anambra members of the National Assembly to vacate their  seats, Oguebego had said the judgment implied that only candidates selected by his exco were the authentic candidates.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the new suit.

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