11 January 2018

Nigeria: Appeal Court Refuses to Stop Anambra Central Senatorial Election

Photo: The Leadership
Court

The Court of Appeal on Thursday refused to stop Saturday's scheduled election for Anambra Central senatorial district from taking place.

The electoral commission, INEC, had fixed January 13 for the election to fill the seat that has been vacant since 2015 due to various court cases.

INEC's decision followed a 2017 judgement by the Court of Appeal. However, after that judgement, the Peoples Democratic Party secured a Federal High Court order that one of its aspirants for the original election in 2015, Obiora Okonkwo, be declared the winner and sworn in as senator.

The PDP has since asked INEC not to proceed with Saturday's election; a stance opposed by the governing party in the state, APGA.

While that controversy raged, a former senator, Annie Okonkwo approached the Court of Appeal seeking to be the PDP candidate for Saturday's election.

According to a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by an INEC official, Rotimi Oyekanmi, "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."

Although Mr. Oyekanmi did not state so, INEC appears to see the appeal court decision as a vindication of its stance to proceed with the election.

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