INEC prepares for Anambra central re-run
…Court Summons INEC, 29 others Over Re-Run, Okonkwo Seeks Committal Of INEC Chairman
Despite the Abuja High court ruling, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has commenced activities towards conducting the Anambra Central Senatorial re-run election scheduled to hold on January 13, 2018.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Nkwachkwu Orji who affirmed that the rerun must hold as scheduled, said personnel and officials to be deployed have since commenced training, insisting that her legal department studied the judgments and asked it to go ahead with the election as ordered by the court of appeal as against Tsoho Federal High Court judgement.
The zone has been without a senator since 2015 when a Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, sacked Uche Ekwunife who won the election to represent the zone. The Court asked INEC to conduct a rerun in the district within 90 days while disqualifying Ekwunife and her political party, the Peoples Democratic Party from participating in the rerun.
The PDP challenged its exclusion at the Federal High Court, Abuja which the court granted judgement to it favour. On appeal, by the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Victor Umeh and APGA contended that PDP would not field a candidate in the rerun since it was on its instance that the election was nullified on December 7, 2015.
However on 13th December, a federal high court in Abuja, presided by Justice John Tsoho, declared that Obiora Okonkwo, a PDP candidate is the senator representing Anambra central senatorial zone. Tsoho also directed INEC to issue Okonkwo certificate of return, even as he ordered the senate president to swear in Okonkwo as the senator for Anambra Central senatorial district.
Following attempts by INEC to go ahead with the election, an Abuja Federal High Court, has summoned the commission to appear before it and show cause why it should not be restrained from conducting the January 13 scheduled rerun election.
The court also summoned 28 other parties to the vexed senatorial contest, including Umeh, APGA, Flint Ikechukwu Obiekwe, UPP, Chris Ngige, the APC, Oyeh Mercy Uche; Accord, Oby Kate Okafor, ACD, Anayo Nweke and the ADC.
Others are Christopher Chukwendu; Citizens Popular Party (CPP); Okafor Ikechukwu; Independent Democrats (ID); Chief Dennis Oguguo; Kowa Party (KP) and Kingsley Nwafor; Ekweozoh Nkem; Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP); Ubakamma Ikenna; National Conscience Party (NCP); Charles Ekwueme; People For Democratic Change (PDC); Igwilo Michael and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).
They are expected to appear in court on Wednesday, January 10, 2018; for definite hearing on the suit brought by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obiora Okonkwo.
Issuing the summons yesterday in Abuja, Justice Babatunde Quadri directed that all court processes relating to the case be served on the 2nd to 29th defendants through the registered offices of their political parties.
Apart from the contempt proceedings, the plaintiff has similarly asked the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to stop INEC from conducting the re-run election for the senatorial seat scheduled for January 13, 2018, contending that he has already been declared winner of the election by a court of competent jurisdiction.
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