By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said Tuesday that only candidates who were cleared and who participated in the March 28, 2015 national assembly elections would participate in the Anambra Central senatorial re-run scheduled for March 5, 2016.
The new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Anambra State, Dr. Lawrence Azubuike, however, said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would not take part in the exercise.
Azubuike, who did not give reasons for disqualifying PDP, was also silent on the status of All Progressives Congress, APC, whose candidate in the election, Senator Chris Ngige, is presently the Minister of Labour and Employment.
Ngige, had, at a stakeholders’ meeting in Awka last month, said that he would not take part in the rerun election because he is already serving the country as a minister.
APC subsequently selected Ms Sharon Ikeazor, a former women leader of the party, as its replacement for Ngige after a primary conducted in Awka.
A statement by the INEC in Awka Tuesday read: “The Commission also decided that only the political parties and candidates who participated in the 28th March 2015 senatorial election in Anambra Central Senatorial District, excluding the Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, will participate in the re-run election.
“Flowing from this, INEC, Anambra State, pursuant to the decision and directive of the Commission, reiterates and restates that no candidate who did not contest the March 28,, 2015 senatorial election in Anambra Central Senatorial District is eligible to contest the 5th March 2016 rerun election.
“Further, all duly registered voters are enjoined to go and cast their votes at the designated polling units where they were registered on the aforementioned date.
“In its resolve to ensure a credible election, the commission shall strictly apply all the provisions of all relevant laws governing the election. Consequently, all parties, their candidates and supporters are required to adhere strictly to all laws, regulations and guidelines regulating the process.”
Already, INEC has scheduled stakeholders meeting today (Thursday) at its headquarters in Awka to clarify its position on the re-run exercise.
Vanguard recalls that the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu had on December 7, 2015, nullified the election of Mrs. Uche Ekwunife who contested the election on the platform of PDP over improper party nomination and ordered a rerun.
The court’s ruling followed an appeal by the candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh.