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We will comply with valid court order on Anambra guber candidates – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it can only replace the name of a candidate for the Anambra governorship election when it receives a valid court order to that effect.

INEC in a list published on July 26 excluded the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and picked Michael Umeoji over Charles Soludo for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Delivering its judgement, a federal high court sitting in Awka, ordered INEC to recognise Soludo as the APGA governorship candidate.

Similarly, a federal high court in Awka ordered INEC to publish the name of Valentine Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP.

But in another ruling which created confusion, a judge of an Anambra state high court, declared Ugochukwu Uba as the PDP candidate for the governorship election.

Reacting to the development, Festus Okoye, INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, in an interview on Channels Television, on Tuesday, said the particulars of candidates published by the commission still remains.

While noting that political parties should be able to resolve their challenges with their own internal rules, he said the commission is aware of the court orders and would meet to look at them, after which it would comply with “valid court orders”.

“The commission has not met to take any decision or to look into any issue relating to the Anambra governorship election. As at today, the position is that the list, the personal particulars of the candidates as uploaded by the commission on July 16 still remains,” he said.

“There is no judicial division of the federal high court, state high court, or the high court of the federal capital territory in INEC.

“Under section 287 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, the Independent National commission is an institution that respects the rule of law and due process and we have been enjoined by the constitution, to enforce the judgements, orders and decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction anywhere in Nigeria.

“And this particular commission will continue to respect court orders and enforce court orders, so long as those court orders related to the functions and powers of INEC.

“I’m aware that some court orders have come in and at the appropriate time, within the confines of the guidelines of the commission, we will meet and look at these court orders and understand what we have to do, and we will definitely comply with valid court orders served on the commission.”

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