By Jide Ajani
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said it has no intention of stopping Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State from seeking a second term in February when the state’s gubernatorial election holds.
INEC, in a statement issued yesterday and entitled: â€œINEC has no reason to want to shut out Peter Obi from contesting in 2010,”Â augued that â€œthe impression being created that anybody wants to exclude the state Governor, Peter Obi, from seeking or securing the APGA ticket is totally misguided.â€
The statement, which was signed on behalf of INEC by Mr. Andy Ezeani, the Chief Press Secretary to the commissionâ€™s Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, declared that only the courts have a final say on the on-going dispute in the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), insisting that the commission had always abided by court rulings.
The statement reads in part: â€œContrary to the impression being fed to the public by some of the warring sides within the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has no reason or intention to shut anybody out of the contest for the ticket of the party for the governorship election in Anambra state in 2010.
â€œThe impression being created that anybody wants to exclude the state governor, Peter Obi, from seeking or securing the APGA ticket is totally misguided.
â€œThe leadership dispute in APGA predates the present leadership of INEC. It is not clear how the recent desperate attempt to make the commission a part of the intractable dispute can lead to resolution of the dispute. The allegation that INEC, as an institution, does not obey court orders and rulings is very mischievous and baseless.
â€œThere is simply no court ruling with a definite pronouncement on which of the claimants to the leadership of APGA is authentic. The matter is still very much in the court. The resort to self- help through raising a mob and launching a massive media campaign against INEC and its leadership amounts to nothing more than blackmail. The Commission and its present leadership have track record of not succumbing to that.
â€œINEC challenges any of the sides in the leadership tussle in APGA which says it has got a court judgment that proclaims an authentic chairman of APGA to come forward and publish such a court judgment for all to see. INEC would not have any difficulties in complying with any definite court ruling on the APGA leadership matter.
â€œThe Commission has refrained from joining issues with any of the sides to the APGA disputes, believing that it is an internal matter of the party which will be resolved with appropriate application of common sense by the various leaders of the troubled party.
â€œWhile the Commission has characteristically been neutral and open in addressing the APGA matter, its actions are guided by the laws of the land and the Constitution of APGA,which Constitution none of the sides in the leadership dispute within the party has challenged orÂ reputed.
â€œThe Commission has noted a certain unhealthy level of desperation in a group which leads it to launch bitter personal attack on the Honourable Chairman of the Commission while feeding the public with falsehood on the matter of the APGA leadership.
â€œStill on the prospect of Governor Obi or any other member of the party who aspires to win the ticket of APGA for the 2010 governorship election, it may be pertinent to inform them that any aspirant who feels shortchanged in the process of selection of candidate for the party can always go the court to seek rectification of any wrongful exclusion. There is precedence in our recent political history.
â€œINEC and its leadership should be spared the senseless assault among belligerent sides within a political party.â€