The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said it will comply with court orders on the Anambra governorship election as stipulated in Section 287 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A Federal High Court in Awka on Monday ordered INEC to publish the name of Valentine Ozigbo as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 6 Anambra State governorship election.
Also a High Court in Anambra directed the commission to publish the name of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the election without further delay.
Ozigbo had approached a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama seeking an order restraining the PDP from tampering with his name as the authentic candidate.
He also sought an order mandating INEC to publish his name as the party’s candidate.
However, the court refused all the orders sort and ordered the electoral commission not to publish the name of any candidate for the PDP pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Consequently, INEC excluded the candidate of the PDP from the list of cleared candidates for the poll.
But in a fresh order issued on Monday, Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, the judge in Awka, asked the electoral commission to publish Ozigbo’s name as PDP’s candidate, following the withdrawal of the suit at the FCT High Court.
Another High Court presided by Justice CC Okaa reinstated Prof. Soludo as the APGA candidate and ordered INEC to publish his name immediately.
The court also ordered INEC to remove the name of Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji already published and ordered him to stop parading himself as candidate of APGA.
The court reaffirmed Victor Oye as the indisputable national chairman of APGA and ordered Edozie Njoku and Jude Okeke to stop parading themselves as national chairmen of APGA.
Speaking with World Africa, Festus Okoye, Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, however, said the commission will not take decision based on newspaper reports unless it has received the certified true copies of the court orders.
He said, “We don’t base our decisions in the commission on newspaper reports or unverified news sources. Our decisions are based on certified true copies of order or judgments.
“So, when we are served with the certified true copies of the judgments, then we will look at it based on what informed our previous decisions and then we look at the court orders and see what specifically the court wants us to do. But we are not a court of law.
“Under Section 287 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we have an obligation to give effect to and comply with the decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction.
“But we won’t take any action or take any decision until we have been served with a certified true copies of the court order. When that is done, we will follow our processes and procedures and then we will make our decisions public”, he said.