Court Should be Circumspect in Giving Orders, Says INEC

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye

Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pleaded with the courts to be circumspect in terms of the orders and judgments they give ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The commission said that conflicting court order and judgments create more problem for the commission.

INEC’s National Commissioner on Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye told THISDAY Wednesday that the policy of INEC and the law and the constitution mandated INEC to only accept the list submitted and signed by the national chairman and national secretary of the political party.

But, he also stated categorically that the policy of the commission is to submit to the rule of law and due process at all times, stressing that the electoral body would always give effect to the judgments and orders made by properly constituted rule of law.

Okoye stated: “In relation to the PDP in Ogun State, the court made very specific orders that the INEC should accept only the list submitted by a particular faction of the PDP in Ogun State. That order was served on the INEC; there has not been any vacation; no court has vacated that order and since no court has vacated those orders.”

“The INEC as a law abiding institution will accept that particular list. We are accepting those lists based on the orders of a properly constituted court of law and that’s where we stand in relation to that.”

“I believe that as we move to 2019 elections, our plea is that the court should be slightly circumspect in terms of the orders and judgments they give,” he added.

Okoye explained that the commission was ready to obey every court judgement and also to give effect to every court order.

He said, “When court grants ex perte applications and make pronouncements to the effect that the status quo should be maintained as at the date of the filing of the matter or as at the date of the giving of the order, it creates very
serious challenges for the commission.

“Our plea is that the court should show some level of clarity, When the court says maintain the status quo, the court should tell the commission what status quo it wants the commission to maintain, so that the commission will not be seen or perceived to be disobeying or not obeying court orders.”

The National commissioner also revealed that ten political parties including the All Progressive Congress (APC) as at Tuesday have submitted their list of candidates for governorship and States House of Assembly elections.

“We are still sorting and processing the list of candidates to be submitted, so I will not know whose name was submitted and whose name was not submitted but the APC as a political party submitted the list of their candidates yesterday and they are among the ten that submitted the list of candidates as at yesterday (Tuesday)”

Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan insisted that the court did not ask INEC to recognise the list of candidates from an ‘unknown group’.