The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it cannot yet take a stance on the controversy surrounding the ruling which sacked Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
A National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, said this at the end of the management meeting of the management meeting of the commission, on Thursday.
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An Abuja court had ordered Umahi’s removal over his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling All progressives Congress (APC).
The court held that votes cast in the 2019 election were for the PDP and Umahi could no longer hold office after leaving the party.
The PDP had asked the electoral body to revoke the certificate of return it issued to Umahi and declare its candidate in 2019 as the new governor.
In its response, INEC had said it would make its position on Umahi known this week.
But in a statement on Thursday, the commission said it cannot take any action at the moment because of multiple court cases.
“It will be recalled that the commission met on Thursday 17th March on the matter, decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes served on it in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively.
“Since then, the commission has been served yet more Court Processes on the same matter, bringing the total to 12.
“The Commission deliberated extensively on these cases and decided to further suspend action on the defection of the Governor and Deputy-Governor of Ebonyi State and 16 members of the State House of Assembly from the PDP to the APC in the light of the conflicting judgements and orders served on it from Courts of coordinate jurisdiction,” he said.
He said that INEC also considers it prudent to stay action on the conflicting judgements and orders being aware of the pendency of Appeals and Motions for Stay of Execution of some of the judgements before various divisions of the Court of Appeal.
On Osun State governorship election, Okoye said that the commission would on Friday 25th March publish in its state and local government offices in Osun State the list and personal particulars of the candidates that political parties propose to sponsor at the election.
He said that these must be candidates who emerged from valid primaries in line with Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022.
He said, “The commission will publish the list and personal particulars of the candidates of 15 out of the 18 political parties that conducted primaries. The nominations of the Action Alliance (AA); African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will not be published for their failure to comply with the commission’s Guidelines on Political Party Operations (2018) or the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“The AA did not submit a nomination jointly signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the party while the ADC and APGA nominated candidates that do not meet the age requirements for the office of Deputy Governor as enshrined in the Constitution. The commission has already communicated this position officially to the affected Political Parties.”