The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to list any of the contending candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the list of candidates for the November 6 Anambra governorship election released by it yesterday. Also, the name of former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, is missing as the commission listed Chukwuma Michael Umeoji as candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
However, Senator Emmanuel Andy Nnamdi Uba, is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while Senator Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, is the Young Progressive Party (YPP) candidate. The African Development Congress (ADC) is fielding Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo while Ekelem Edward Arinze is the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate is Ugwoji Martin Uchenna. Apart from PDP, 17 parties are fielding candidate for the election. Though PDP was listed but no candidate was stated. Two candidates, Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Ugo-chukwu Uba emerged at parallel primaries conducted by the party on June 26 to choose its candidate for the election. The battle ground later shifted to the court of law as where the court in Awka earlier in the week, recognised Ozigbo as PDP candidate.
That of APGA is between two factional chairmen, Chief Victor Oye and Jude Okeke, which equally became court dispute. INEC in a statement by its National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the commission: “Took cognisance of the judgments/court orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election.” Okoye said the commission considered the particulars of candidates nominated by the various political parties for the Anambra State governorship at its meeting on July 15. He said INEC will in line with section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended), publish the personal particulars of the candidates at its notice board in Awka, Anambra State. Okoye assured that: “The commission will continue to act in consonance with the constitution and the law and will continue to obey the judgements and orders of courts served on it.”
But APGA accused INEC of conniving with Jude Okeke to substitute Soludo as its gov-ernorship candidate. Oye at a press conference said the commission monitored its June 23 primary that produced Soludo, and sent him a code, “for uploading of the particulars of our candidate and his deputy. “On the July 2, in accordance with the Electoral Act and the Timetable of INEC, we uploaded the particulars of our governorship candidate Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim. Immediately we concluded that, INEC duly acknowledged it. We also submitted the hardcopy at the INEC office and it was duly acknowledged.” APGA National Chairman said INEC breached section 31(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which mandates it to publish the particulars of candidates in the same constituency where the candidate intends to contest the election.
He wondered why the commission waited till July 16 to publish the particulars of the candidates. He further referred INEC to the order of an Awka Federal High Court, which directed it to maintain the status quoand receive the particulars submitted to it by his leadership and publish same. “This is an order of court. Why did INEC want to disobey a valid order of court of competent jurisdiction?” he asked. The National Chairman described the Jigawa court order obtained by Okeke as bizarre, and alleged that the court might have been misled to give the order.
“This is true because no judge will issue such order when there is subsisting national executive of the party. “What Jude Okeke did is illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate and it should not stand. “What is going on is a plot to embarrass our party because they know it cannot stand.
The same thing happened in 2017 during Governor Willie Obiano bid for second term. The same manipulation but in the end, everything was thrown out and Governor Obiano’s candidacy was upheld by INEC,” he said. Oye also said the party has appealed against the Jigawa judgement, disclosing that the court sat on July 14 in Kano.