From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is insisting that the Anambra Central senatorial district rerun election will hold as scheduled, on January 13.
This was against the backdrop of a Federal High Court judgment asking INEC to issue the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Obiora Okonkwo, a certificate of return and, also, for him to be sworn in by the Senate president.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, who made the disclosure, said the commission had commenced training of ad hoc personnel in that respect.
Nkwachukwu said its legal department had studied the judgement and asked it to go ahead with the election as ordered by the Court of Appeal. “We’re going ahead with the election as scheduled. We’ve started training ad hoc personnel in that respect. Our legal department has asked us to go ahead and obey the Court of Appeal order against the Federal High Court judgement.
“So, we are going ahead to conduct the election on January 13,” he stated.
Anambra Central Senatorial District had been without a senator since 2015, when a Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, sacked the occupant of the position, Uche Ekwunife.
In disqualifying Ekwunife and her political party, PDP, from participating in the rerun, the court asked INEC to conduct a rerun in the district within 90 days,
The PDP then challenged its exclusion in the rerun at the Federal High Court, Abuja, with the court granting judgment in its favour.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, and APGA had contended that PDP should not field a candidate in the rerun, since it was at its instance that the election was nullified on December 7, 2015.
On Monday, November 20, 2017, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja delivered a judgment in favour of Umeh, in which it ordered INEC to conduct the rerun election within 90 days of the judgment, excluding the PDP from contesting.
Following this, INEC fixed the rerun for January 13, 2018.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Abuja has summoned INEC to appear before it and show cause why it should not be restrained from conducting the scheduled rerun election.
Also summoned by the court are 28 others, including Chief Victor Umeh, APGA; Flint Ikechukwu Obiekwe; United Progressive Party (UPP); Senator Chris Ngige; All Progressives Congress (APC); Oyeh Mercy Uche; Accord (A); Oby Kate Okafor; Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD); Chief Anayo Nweke; African Democratic Congress (ADC); Christopher Chukwendu; Citizens Popular Party (CPP); Okafor Ikechukwu; Independent Democrats (ID); Chief Dennis Oguguo; Kowa Party (KP) and Kingsley Nwafor.
The rest are Ekweozoh Nkem; Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP); Ubakamma Ikenna; National Conscience Party (NCP); Rev. Charles Ekwueme; People For Democratic Change (PDC); Igwilo Michael and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).
They are to appear in court on Wednesday, January 10, for the definite hearing of the suit brought by the candidate of PDP for Anambra Central Senatorial District , Dr. Obiora Okonkwo.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suits.