‘INEC Proceeded With Anambra Poll Despite 6 Pending Cases’

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Vincent Obia

Barely one week after Anambra went to the polls to elect a new governor, allegations have emerged about a multiplicity of court cases that had threatened to stop the election. The cases, which relate mainly to the Anambra Central Senatorial District, have the Independent National Electoral Commission as a party, according to a correspondence obtained by THISDAY. INEC was warned to put off the November 18 election, which incumbent Governor Willie Obiano won, pending the determination of the cases.

The pending lawsuits include: Dr. Obiora Okonkwo v. PDP & Ors., Suit No:​​​ FHC/ABJ/1092/2014, Federal High Court, Abuja; Comrade Anayo Nweke v INEC., Suit No:​​​ FHC/AWK/CS/69/2016, ​​​​Federal High Court, Awka; ​​​PDP & Anor v. Chief (Sir) Victor Umeh, OFR & 11 Ors, ​Appeal No:​​​SC/204/2016, Supreme Court of Nigeria; ​​​Chief (Sir) Victor Umeh v PDP, ​Appeal No:​​​CA/A/160/2016, ​​​​Court of Appeal; ​​​INEC v Peoples Democratic Party, ​Appeal No: ​​​CA/A/165/2016, Court:​​​​Court of Appeal; and All Progressives Congress & ANOR Vs INEC, Appeal No: CA/A/314/2017.

The letter signed by one Mrs. Onyinyechi Okeke stated, “As is clearly evident from the above listed cases, INEC is a named party in all the matters and would be directly bound by the decisions of the respective courts. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to pre-empt the decision of the courts in these cases by proceeding with any election prior to a final determination of these actions. This would invariably result in a situation where INEC, through its conduct, will be foisting a fait accompli on the courts and rendering the court judgements nugatory.

“Consequently, in light of the foregoing, and given INEC’s constitutional responsibility to determine the timing and conduct of general elections, we hereby respectfully request that INEC hold off on scheduling any elections in Anambra Central Senatorial District pending the determination of these lawsuits. To do otherwise would be to create a situation whereby INEC, an agency of the Federal Government, would be perceived as impugning the jurisdiction of the courts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by foisting a situation of helplessness on the courts.”