The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its decision to go ahead with the proposed Jan. 13 Anambra Central Senatorial rerun election.
Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, National Publicity Secretary of APGA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that INEC had demonstrated “constitutionality and character’’ on the matter.
Obi-Okoye said the decision of INEC to obey the Court of Appeal judgment over that of a Federal High Court was in tandem with the principle of legal jurisprudence which says the decision of a high court will at all times supersede that of a lower court.
He described the Dec. 13 Federal High Court which ruled that Dr Obiora Okonkwo was the valid candidate of the PDP in the March 2015 election as having no momentum and a distraction.
According to the spokesman, the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting on election matter was that the candidate of the PDP, Mrs Uche Ekwunife, was not a product of a valid primary.
“In effect the court said that the PDP did not hold any primary, so they could not have fielded a valid candidate because the conduct of a primary is `sine qua non’ to the nomination of a candidate.
“Again there was an appeal to the Supreme Court, but Section 246 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says that the decision of the Appeal Court on this matter is final, so for whatever reason it cannot review it.
“In this case, the PDP has lost the seat, therefore there is no seat to replace and again there is no tenure to serve because the election in question has been nullified, the question of pre-election matter does not arise.
“What Dr Obiora Okonkwo succeeded in doing at the Federal High Court was to establish that he was the rightful candidate,’’ Obi-Okoye told NAN.
“Remember that at the High Court level, because there is another court of coordinate jurisdiction which determined that the PDP did not hold primary and that ruled that Mr Chike Maduekwe an aspirant in that contested be refunded his nomination form money.
“The question is can the decision of a High Court upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal? The answer obviously is no.
“INEC is acting on the rule of law and not sentiment or emotion, this is not an issue of media trial but matter of fundamental legal jurisprudence.’’
Obi-Okoye said the election would be a keen contest as four political parties would be taking part in the process.
He said APGA was sure of victory because of the quality of its candidate, Chief Victor Umeh, assuring that he would be a strong voice in the state and further mainstream APGA in national politics.
Obi-Okoye said the victory of APGA in the governorship election had established the party not just in Anambra but in Nigeria, adding that it would be another massive victory for it.
“There are 15 political parties in this election, of these the PDP is disqualified by order of court and APC can take part if they field Dr Chris Ngige who was the candidate in 2015 and having not done that, they have technically schemed themselves out.
“Regardless of how it turns out, Jan. 13 rerun election will be a sweet relief for all informed people of Anambra Central who have been denied their voice in the senate for over two years and the accruing development to the constituency.