By Clifford Ndujihe
SENATOR Annie Okonkwo, has kicked against moves to hold fresh elections in Anambra Central Senatorial District and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue him the certificate of return in view of last week’s Supreme Court judgement making him the authentic Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate for the zone.
In a letter to the chairman of the commission dated February 3, by his counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, Senator Okonkwo kicked against the commission’s scheduling of the Anambra Central re-run for march 5, 2016, saying it has no basis because the seat is not vacant. He said anything other than being issued the certificate of return is unacceptable. He insisted that his name had been uploaded on INEC website as Anambra Central PDP candidate ‘’as at 13th January 2015 being the last date for INEC publication of list of nominated candidates for National Assembly (see INEC time table attached as annexure 2). See also section 34 of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
His name and that of other successful candidates of PDP were uploaded on INEC website (see attached as annexure 3) in compliance with the Federal High Court Order. It will be noticed that your commission indicated that our client’s name was published pursuant to “Court Order.”
The Court of Appeal had earlier nullified Senator Uche Ekwunife’s election in the zone saying she was not validly nominated as PDP candidate and ordered a re-run poll, a decision that made the INEC to fix the election for March 5.
According to him,’’when on 6th February 2015, the Court of Appeal set aside the said judgement of the Federal High Court, your Commission quickly removed the name of our client from the publication as candidate and replaced same with other name, Uche Lilian Ekwunife who was subsequently issued with Certificate of Return by your Commission after the election.
It is pertinent to note that when your Commission removed our client’s name, there was no Consequential Court Order made by the Court of Appeal to that effect, but your Commission relied on the necessary implication of the judgement of the Court of Appeal.’’
This is coming as a chieftain of the PDP, Alhaji Haliru Ibrahim, in a statement, advised factional chairman of the PDP in Anambra State, Mr. Ken
Emeakayi, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Stella Oduah and others affected by the Supreme Court judgement to stop parading themselves as sitting lawmakers. ‘’By law, all the lawmakers in the Emeakayi’s list are supposed to have vacated but unfortunately, Emeakayi turned around to encourage them to retain their seats in the National Assembly.’’
Ibrahim also advised Emeakayi to stop parading himself as the chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC in Anambra State, claiming that the chairman of the body is Sam Oraegbunam.