Twenty-two political parties, on Friday, stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Abuja, to submit names and particulars of candidates for the November 6 Anambra governorship election.
The parties, which were part of the 74 political parties deregistered by INEC last year, insisted that they must be on the ballot as they had obtained a declarative judgment by the Appeal Court quashing their deregistration by the INEC.
The electoral body, however, rejected their request, insisting that the parties remained deregistered.
It would be recalled that the parties had, on March 18 this year, submitted letters of notice for the conduct of the governorship primaries for the Anambra poll.
But INEC, then, in a swift reaction, signed by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, said it would only recognise and deal with 18 parties for the governorship election in Anambra State, pending the Supreme Court judgment regarding its powers to deregister parties.
‘Nomination form not accepted’
Speaking on behalf of the parties, National Chairman of United Patriots (UP), Barrister Chukwudi Ezeobika, said the commission refused to accept the nomination forms of their successful candidates who emerged from party primaries conducted by them recently.
According to him, the commission denied the parties access code with which nomination forms are to be submitted online.
He said: “The decision by INEC to wrongfully exclude their parties from the Anambra State governorship election will void the entire process and render the outcome of the Governorship election void as INEC has wilfully chosen to undermine the integrity of our Courts.
“By refusing to relist these 22 political parties to participate in the scheduled election as Ordered by the Court of Appeal in APPEAL NO. CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020, ACD & 21 ors AND Attorney-General Federation & INEC and for refusing these Parties access to contest in the November 6, 2021 Governorship election, INEC has once again shown that it has no regard for the Rule of Law in Nigeria.
“This behaviour is unacceptable as it portends grave danger to our democracy.
“In view of the foregoing, the concerned political parties shall take all necessary legal steps to ensure that their rights, as guaranteed under the Law, are fully protected.”
On his part, National Chairman of Green Party of Nigeria, GPN, Sam Eke, observed that since the appeal court’s judgement had not been stepped aside by a superior court, it behoved on the electoral body to respect court judgements and reinstate the parties, noting that the affected parties would seek redress.
The affected parties include the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), All Blending Party (ABP), All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), and Green Party of Nigeria (GPN).
Also included are Peoples Coalition Party (PCP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), United Democratic Party (UDP), United Patriots (UP), and We The People of Nigeria (WTP).