From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja
Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) national convention slated for tomorrow in Port Harcourt, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it would not recognise any election that produces Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman.
Justice Hussein Buba of Federal High Court, Lagos had last week, in a restraining order, asked the party not to conduct elections into office of national chairman, national auditor and secretary.
The court also restrained INEC from monitoring the conduct of any election into the affected offices.
Listed as plaintiffs were incumbent chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; national secretary, Professor Olawale Oladipo, and the national auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adewale Adeyanju.
In the case with suit number FHC/L/CS/61 3/2016, dated 6th of May, 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP were listed as the first and second defendants.
The plaintiffs are asking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the second defendant from conducting any election into the offices of the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor listed as the first, second and third defendants, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They are also praying for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the first defendant/respondent from monitoring and /or recognising the conduct of any election by the second defendant/respondent into the offices of the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor.
Despite the court order, the National Executive Committee, (NEC) of the party at the end of its meeting on Tuesday in Abuja passed a resolution to go ahead with the convention and conduct elections into all the offices.
But speaking with Daily Sun on phone, INEC Deputy Director of Publicity and Voters’ Education, Nick Dazang, said the Commission would monitor the exercise but would restrain itself from elections into office of chairman, national secretary and auditor in compliance with the court order.
“Our position is that we shall obey the court order and that means, we won’t monitor or recognise any election into the offices affected by the court order.
“The court order says elections into office of chairman, national secretary and national auditor shouldn’t hold.
“So, INEC won’t recognise any election into such offices. “We would monitor only offices exempted. Those affected won’t be monitored, neither will any elections into the offices be recognised.”
The Commission further said it was not aware of any parallel convention being planned for same day in Abuja by the Concerned PDP Stakeholders, led by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana.
In his reaction, Inua Bwala, media aide to the embattled national chairman of the PDP said no court order restrained the party from holding its convention.
“The court didn’t stop the convention, it only says elections into certain offices shouldn’t hold.”
Asked to confirm if his boss would still partake in tomorrow’s election, Bwala said, “Everything is going on as planned.”