The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says multiple orders issued on the November 6 Anambra governorship election have the tendency to affect the conduct of the exercise.
Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, spoke on the matter at the implementation meeting of the voter education and publicity department in Anambra on Tuesday.
He said the commission often complains about the frequency with which courts issued orders which he said have “far-reaching implications on the conduct of the Anambra state governorship election”.
“Some of the orders have the tendency of eroding the powers of the Commission and compromising its independence, powers and timelines for the conduct of the upcoming election,” he said.
Okoye said the commission usually issues access codes to the national chairman of political parties with which they upload the personal details and list of their candidates electronically.
He said this has prevented the demonstrations and violence normally witnessed in the commission’s premises by different party factions.
“Unfortunately, some of the judgements and orders given especially on the primary elections in Anambra State have bypassed our portal and sought to restore the manual submission of the List and Personal Particulars of candidates,” he said.
Okoye said it is becoming increasingly difficult for the commission to obey court orders and judgements “as some of the political parties and the candidates have perfected the art of shopping for the first in time or the latest in time”.
He, therefore, called on the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to intervene as such practice must not get to 2023.
“The leadership of the bar association and the leadership of the judiciary must wade into this descent to forum shopping and the multiplicity of orders and judgements from courts of coordinate jurisdiction,” he said.
“This is urgent, it is imperative and cannot be carried over to the 2023 general election.”
Since INEC released the list of cleared candidates for the Anambra election, some courts have issued conflicting orders.
In the case of Ugochukwu Uba and Valentine Ozigbo, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two different courts declared them candidates for the election.