Anambra senatorial rerun poll holds without PDP
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
IPAC backs INEC for exercise
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 14 candidates have shown interest in tomorrow’s re-run election in the Anambra Central Senatorial zone.
The Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, made the disclosure during a stakeholders’ meeting held at INEC’s head office in Awka. The commission also assured that the polls would hold.Orji however stressed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains excluded, as the court had barred it from fielding candidate whenever there is a rerun.
He listed the seven local government that constitute Anambra central district to include Awka North, Awka South, Idemili North, Idemili South, Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia.Orji further explained that other political parties that fielded candidates were eligible to contest the re-run election as he also disclosed that the commission had already distributed non-sensitive materials to the affected councils.
He said “A total of 7,670 ad-hoc workers would be deploy for the conduct of the election, which hold in 1,548 polling units,” as he also assured that every arrangement to ensure smooth conduct of the exercise had been made. He however advised against any form of violence or anti-electoral conduct before, during and after the exercise.
Commenting on reports that a Federal High Court judgment may have stopped the exercise from holding, the REC said no such directive was given to the Anambra office of INEC by the headquarters.Said he, “INEC Anambra is not responsible for policy issues, we get our directives from INEC national headquarters and no such directive has been received that we should not to go ahead with re-run.
“We advised political parties to play by the rule because we will ensure that we deliver free, fair and credible election which is now a minimum benchmark for INEC in any election we conduct.’’He also warned against vote buying which participants complained characterised the last governorship election held on November 18, 2017 in the state.
He said the menace of vote buying require collaborative efforts of political parties, security agents and INEC officials, saying the electorate must join hands with the commission to improve on how elections are conducted.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. John Ahwen said the agency is fully prepared for the exercise.But the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Anambra State chapter said INEC should ignore all distractions and ensure that tomorrow exercise holds.
In a statement endorsed by the 19 members of IPAC, which was presented to the REC, the council chairman, Chief Bartho Igwedibia said political parties in the state are ready for the exercise.He said the council was in support of the conduct of the re-run election as it would enable Anambra central have a representation at the senate.
Igwedibia noted that it was absolutely wrong that Anambra Central Senatorial District is presently the only seat vacant at the senate chamber when the country has a few months to step into the 2019 general election.
According to him, “We are worried that few months to the 2019 elections, while other states and senatorial zones across the country are preparing for another round of quality representation, Anambra central is still bedeviled with the aftermath of 2015 election.
He also disown a group which claimed to be members of IPAC that has been calling for the postponement of the rerun, saying, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication where it was alleged that some group purported to be IPAC members in Anambra came to INEC on January 8 to protest against the conduct of the re-run election.
“IPAC as an umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria, especially its Anambra chapter disassociates itself from such unpatriotic act of lawlessness and however encouraged INEC to go ahead with the election.”