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No going back on Soludo — PDP

*As substitution of candidate ends today

By Henry Umoru & Emma Ovuakporie

ABUJA—AS Deadline for the substitution of candidates with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the February 6, 2010 Anambra State governorship election ends  today’s midnight, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said yesterday that it was not in any way disturbed by the deadline just as the electoral body has set up a 10-member Election Monitoring and Observation Board.

Section  34 of the Electoral Act states that “a political party intending to change any of its candidates for any election shall inform the Commission of such change in writing not later than 60 days to the election.”
According to the party, it was not prepared to substitute its governorship candidate, Professor Chukwuma Soludo.

Speaking on the development yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali said, “what is the need of replacing him when we are appealing the order of the Court of Appeal? We are solidly behind our candidate in Anambra State, Professor Soludo and there is no going back”.

Also speaking in the same vein, the party’s National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke who disclosed that the party has filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal order, stressed that the party was ready to pursue the case to the last point, adding, “We are in appeal and the election is not coming up tomorrow and we shall follow the case till the Supreme Court makes the last order which shall be binding on all, including INEC.”

With the latest development of taking the case to the Supreme Court, it means the party was not ready to replace Professor Chukwuma Soludo as the party’s governorship candidate.

It would be recalled that the provision of 2006 Electoral Act Sections 34 and 35 stipulate that there would be no substitution of candidates in any election, 60 days to the date of the election and the date of the election still stands to hold on February 6 2010.

The Court of Appeal had last Friday directed INEC not to recognize Professor Soludo and asked the PDP to stop parading Soludo as the governorship candidate pending the outcome of the suit before it.

According to Oke, the party was challenging the order of the Court of Appeal on the following grounds “that the lower court erred and wrongly exercised its discretion by granting an interim order in this matter when there were no materials to justify the grant.

“That the lower court erred in law which error occasioned miscarriage of justice when it granted orders of injunction which have the effect of determining the substantive application and the main appeal at the interlocutory stage.

“That the order of the Court of Appeal erred in law by making a sweeping order of injunction beyond the scope of oral application before it” the Notice of Appeal stated. But no date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal before the apex court.

Joined in the appeal at the Supreme Court are INEC, Valentine Ozigboh, Victoria Nwankwo, Nkoli Imoh and Ferdinand Okoye, all former aggrieved aspirants in the stillborn PDP primary election.

Prof. Maurice Iwu, INEC Chairman, yesterday in Abuja, announced the constitution of a 10-member Election Monitoring and Observation Board for the 2010 Anambra governorship election.


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