11 January 2018

Nigeria: Why We'll Go Ahead With Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun - INEC

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has explained why the electoral body is going ahead with the conduct of Anambra Central Senatorial rerun election coming up on Saturday.

Professor Yakubu spoke on the issues yesterday in Abuja when he fielded questions from a high level team from Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust titles, led by the Chief Executive Officer/ Editor-in-Chief, Mannir Dan-Ali, who paid him a courtesy visit at the commission's headquarters.

The INEC chairman said the decision to conduct the rerun poll despite an opposing judgement from the Federal High court was to respect the provision of the Nigerian Constitution which states that the verdict of a superior court should be given priority over the subordinate one.

"When we were served the order of the Appeal Court to proceed with the Anambra election, the commission issued a statement to say that the election will hold in January 13, 2018. Since then, the commission hasn't issued any statement to say that election won't hold. So, as far as we are concerned, the election will hold. We are going by the order of the Court of Appeal which is superior to the Federal High Court.

"Section 28 (7) of the Constitution is very clear. The courts are creation of the constitution and they have hierarchy. Subsection 1 says that a judgment of the Supreme Court shall be obeyed by all authorities and persons in the federation of Nigeria and all subordinate courts. Subsection 2 says the same thing- all authorities and courts subordinate to the Court of Appeal. Then, Subsection 3 talks about High Courts, Customary Courts, Industrial Courts and all other courts.

"So, we have hierarchy of courts. Once you have the judgement of a superior court, you are duty bound to obey that judgement over and above the judgement of a High Court. Our position hasn't changed on that matter. We are going to proceed on the election on the basis of the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

"The election is holding on Saturday. Some of the national commissioners to supervise the election are already on their way to Awka. So, we will go and conclude the only outstanding court ordered rerun election from 2015," he said.

On the report that he had been summoned by a High Court over the Anambra election, the INEC chairman, who said that he also read the story on the pages of newspaper that somebody had gone to file for initial contempt proceeding, stated that he had not been served with any court order.


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