As its decision, the Court of Appeal on Thursday, January 11, refused to cancel Saturday’s scheduled election for Anambra central senatorial district.
The electoral commission, INEC, had fixed Saturday, January 13 for the election to fill the seat that has been vacated since 2015 as a result of several controversial court cases.
INEC’s decision was a sequel to a 2017 ruling by the Court of Appeal. But after that judgement, the Peoples Democratic Party secured a Federal High Court order that Obiora Okonkwo, an aspirant for the original election in 2015, be declared the winner and sworn in as senator.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked INEC not to proceed with Saturday’s election, but this was opposed by the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
As the controversy boiled, an ex-senator, Annie Okonkwo, came before the Court of Appeal seeking to be the PDP candidate for the scheduled election.
According PREMIUM TIMES’ report, an INEC official, Rotimi Oyekanmi, noted in a statement, thus: “Mr. Okonkwo approached the Court of Appeal as an interested party. He argued that he was the rightful candidate of the PDP for Anambra Central Senatorial District election 2015.”
“He prayed the court to stop INEC from conducting the election on Saturday 13th January, 2018 pending the hearing and determination of his application for leave to appeal against the court decision of 20th November, 2017 which ordered INEC to conduct the re-run election within 90 days without the PDP and its candidate.
“The court held that the application was not ripe for hearing as some of the respondents were not served with the court process. Consequently, the court cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. Having ordered INEC to conduct the election, the court cannot now order the commission to do otherwise.”
While Oyekanmi did not clearly state so, INEC appears to see the appeal court’s ruling an approval of its position to go ahead with the election.
It was reported that the Anambra state commissioner of police, Garba Umar, said that 4,300 policemen had been deployed for the Anambra Central senatorial district election re-run to be held on Saturday, January 13.
The commissioner stated that three policemen would man each of the 1,448 polling units in the seven local government areas involved.