The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to apologise to Nigerians over the pending rerun elections across the country.
In a petition to the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, by INTER-SOCIETY Board of Trustees Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the group described the continued delay of the reruns as “an invitation to anarchy”.
While asking the commission to fix dates for the rerun polls, it maintained that INEC had deprived millions of Nigerians the right of representation in the National Assembly by not conducting such elections timeously.
The petition read: ”By the country’s 1999 Constitution and its Electoral Act of 2010, judicial inquiries into any dispute associated with the outcome of any legislative poll so conducted, must end in eight months or within eight months; starting from 21 days after the official announcement of the results.
“The available laws further provide for conduct of a post-election reruns in 90 days or within 90 days, on account of nullification of the original poll and ordering of new one by a court of last instance (i.e. Court of Appeal).
“These laws and judicial orders have been observed in gross breach by your electoral Commission till date.
Continuing the group said, “It saddens our heart that over 12 months after the country’s federal legislative poll was conducted, a number of outstanding reruns abound.
“Presently at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, five Senatorial Districts with combined electoral population of 10 million to 15 million have been denied quality and deliberative legislative representation since December 2015. Similar sad fate has befallen other vacant House of Reps seats particularly those in Rivers State.
“As important as Rivers State is to the country’s national wealth and politics yet it does not have serving Senators till date.
“There is still outstanding Senatorial rerun for the Imo North (Okigwe) Senatorial District. Your Commission was mandated by the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division to conduct a rerun election into the seat nullified by the Court on 11th of December 2015.
“The court ordered your Commission to conduct a rerun into the vacant seat within 90 days, which expired on March 11, 2016. Till date, your Commission has observed these judicial orders in gross breach.
“The Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun is also outstanding till date. The Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, had on 6th of December 2015 nullified the election of Senator Uche Ekwunifie and ordered your Commission to conduct a Senatorial rerun into the vacant seat within 90 days.
“The 90 days court order within which your Commission was mandated to conduct the rerun expired on 6th of March 2016”.
The right group urged INEC to fix dates for the outstanding reruns and apologise to Nigerians and the electorate of the nine federal constituencies and three senatorial districts in Rivers State, as well as those of Imo North and Anambra Central senatorial districts.