A human rights lawyer and president, Voters Rights International, Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba has petitioned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu.
In the petition, Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba expressed concern that the electorates and indeed the good people of Anambra Central senatorial district should not be unduly deprived of their constitutional right to have a voice and representation at the Senate.
He further alleged that by postponing the re-run election indefinitely, albeit unlawfully, the commission has thereby denied the people their right of representation at the Senate.
He thus gave the Commission 14 days’ notice to do the needful failing which we shall have no other option than to drag the Commission to Court to compel it to conduct the re-run poll without further delay.
Below is the copy of the petition:
Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba
INEC IS LAYING A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT ON ANAMBRA CENTRAL RE-RUN POLL
The Court of Appeal, Enugu, in its December 7, 2015 judgment unequivocally ordered for a re-run election in Anambra Central Senatorial District within 90 days.
This order was as a result of the nullification of the March 28, 2015 election that threw up the Peoples Democratic Party PDP’s candidate, Mrs Uche Ekwunife as Senator.
Senator Ekwunife was disqualified as a result of illegal party nomination process.
In obedience to this Appeal Court order, your commission fixed Saturday, March 5, 2016 as the date for the re-run election.
However, surprisingly, barely five days to the scheduled date of March 5, 2016 senatorial re-run, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State, Mr Lawrence Azubuike announced at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 that he has a directive from the National Headquarters of the Commission to postpone indefinitely the Appeal Court ordered re-run election.
He attributed the postponement to a Court order obtained by PDP at the Federal High Court, Abuja for the inclusion of its candidate on the ballot.
The question begging for your Commission’s answers are:
1. Is the Appeal Court order that the re-run election shall be conducted within 90 days not superior to the Federal High Court order for inclusion of PDP candidate?
2. Is it not legally safer to obey the Federal High Court order for inclusion of PDP candidate pending Appeal for the election to hold without further delay?
3. When has a Court order become a bar to your Commission to conduct a scheduled general election or court ordered re-run election?
4. When has INEC suddenly began to await final Supreme Court order or judgment before conducting its scheduled general election or court ordered re-run election?
No matter the angle your Commission chose to answer the above four questions, your Commission must be told in plain language that it is laying a dangerous precedent on Anambra Central re-run poll.
Our concern is that the electorates and indeed the good people of Anambra Central senatorial district should not be unduly deprived of their constitutional right to have a voice and representation at the Senate.
By postponing the re-run election indefinitely, albeit unlawfully, your Commission has thereby denied the people their right of representation at the Senate.
We believe that the inclusion of PDP’s candidate in the re-run election pending appeal does not and cannot affect the outcome of the re-run poll if at the end of the day, the Supreme Court set aside or nullified the inclusion of the party’s candidate based on the earlier decisions of the Appellate Court.
Our legal opinion is that assuming (without conceding) that the PDP candidate wins the re-run election, the eventual setting aside or nullification of the party’s participation will pave way for the runners-up in the re-run poll to take over the Senate seat as of right provided the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the electoral law, devoid of rigging.
We consider the present position of your Commission on the subject-matter of this letter as highly compromised and riddled with corruption.
The peoples’ right of representation is paramount and superior to your Commission’s selfish agenda on whether or not to include a particular party’s candidate in the re-run poll.
We therefore use this medium to give your Commission 14 days’ Notice to do the needful failing which we shall have no other option than to drag the Commission to Court to compel it to conduct the re-run poll without further delay.
Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba
Onitsha-Based Human Rights Lawyer and President, Voters Rights International
Tel: 08036095750, Email: email@example.com