THE ILL-ADVISED APPEAL FILED BY THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) AGAINST THE RULING OF HON. JUSTICE ANWURI ICHEGBUO CHIKERE OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT ABUJA ON ANAMBRA CENTRAL SENATORIAL ZONE’S FRESH ELECTION
We are amazed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decided to file an appeal in the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling of Honourable Justice Anwuri Ichegbuo Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, directing the Commission to admit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to participate in the fresh election for the Anambra Central Senatorial Zone ordered by the Election Petition Appeal Tribunal.
The implication of this ruling is that the All Progressives Congress (APC), our Party the United Progressive Party (UPP) and other Political Parties that fielded candidates for Anambra Central Senatorial election in the 2015 general election and who still desire to participate in the ordered fresh election shall benefit from the well-considered ruling of Honourable Justice Chikere.
The Commission has established a culture of obeying the rulings and orders of Courts of competent jurisdiction in matters that concern the candidates and the leadership of Political Parties regarding elections and outcomes of elections.
There is a plethora of examples arising from the 2015 general elections in which you relied only on the pronouncement of Courts for the Commission’s decisions and actions while leaving the aggrieved candidates and Parties to go on appeal if they so desired.
It is baffling that shortly after Chief Victor Umeh, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Anambra Central Senatorial Zone had boasted publicly that INEC would not allow other Parties to field fresh candidates for a fresh election, INEC proceeded to the Court of Appeal to make good Chief Umeh’s boast.
We are unable to come to terms with what INEC is going to lose if it obeyed the ruling of the Federal High Court Abuja and allowed for a level playing field for Political Parties to contest for an election that is essentially a popularity contest based on democratic principles.
Similarly, we wonder what INEC will gain if by its ill-advised action in this matter, shuts out other Political Parties and reduces the election to no election at all.
INEC should be concerned that Anambra Central Senatorial Zone is not being represented at the Senate at this time.
The implication of the unfortunate appeal filed by INEC is that this matter will end up at the Supreme Court and the people of Anambra Central Senatorial Zone will suffer the misfortune and tragedy of not being represented in the hallowed chamber of the Senate for the greater part of the tenure of The Eighth National Assembly.
This is avoidable and can still be avoided.
Tax Payers money should not be wasted in prosecuting an appeal that is obviously very partisan in its content and serves basically the interest of an individual.
This cannot be the purpose for which INEC was established.
In the interest of the nation’s fledgling democracy and in the interest of the image and integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, we urge INEC to withdraw without delay the appeal which it filed in this matter arising from the advice of a highly compromised Legal Department of the Commission.
Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.
Chief (Dr.) Chekwas Okorie
National Chairman, UPP
cc: President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
cc: Senate President
cc: Speaker, House of Representatives
cc: Chairman, IPAC
cc: All INEC Commissioners