Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would continue to obey and give effect to court orders and judgements ahead of the Anambra State governorship election slated for November 6.
The electoral body said the Constitution, the Electoral Act, as well as its regulations and guidelines would continue to guide its conduct, processes, and procedures on party primaries.
LEADERSHIP reports that INEC dropped the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Valentine Ozigbo and that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Prof Charles Soludo, ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State in obedience to orders of the court.
Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP yesterday in Abuja, INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye said the conduct of party primaries is within the domestic realm of the parties subject to conformity with sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act.
Okoye said the commission has no interest in who emerges as the flag bearer of any of the political parties.
He said political parties should put their houses in order. He added that the commission would continue to follow its timetable and schedule of activities as well as the constitution and the law.
“The commission did not reject the list and personal particulars submitted by any of the political parties,” he said.
Speaking further, he said the commission simply gave effect to the judgements and orders of courts as received and as served on it, and noted that it is the courts that ordered the publication or non-publication of some of the names.
He said by section 287(3) of the Constitution, the commission is under a constitutional obligation to enforce and give effect to decisions of the Federal High Court, the High Court, and other Courts established by the Constitution.
According to him, “In January 2021, the commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election. The leaders of the political parties are in possession of the timetable and schedule of activities.
“The commission released the timetable and schedule of activities in January for an election taking place in November to give the political parties sufficient time to plan their party primaries, resolve issues arising therefrom, and generally put their houses in order.
“The commission will therefore continue to obey and give effect to court orders and judgements relating to pre-election matters and its processes and procedures.
“If we receive another court order mandating the commission to restore any name or publish any name or to remove any name and their particulars from what has already been published, the commission will study it and give effect to the said order.”
Okoye also said the commission is not a court of law and does not have adjudicatory powers.