April 24, 2024

INEC clears Soludo as Anambra APGA Gov candidate

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*Soludo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given Prof. Charles Soludo green light to contest the November 6 Anambra State governorship election under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

The former CBN Governor, alongside his running mate, Onyekachi Ibezim, were in July removed from the commission’s list of cleared candidates in recognition of an order by the High Court of Jigawa State, questioning the emergence of the duo and the legality of the party’s leadership that produced them.

In a list of governorship and deputy governorship candidates signed by the Secretary to the commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony and released on Thursday August 18, candidates of 12 parties were listed except that of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in another statement, stated that the commission met on Thursday and deliberated on several issues, including the nomination of candidates for the election scheduled for November 6, 2021.

On recognition of Soludo as APGA’s candidate, Okoye said, “The commission was served with the judgment of the Court of Appeal (Kano Division) which set aside the judgement of the High Court of Jigawa State on the leadership of APGA and the nomination of its candidates for the Anambra Governorship election.”

He explained why the commission dropped the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Valentine Ozigbo, in the updated list published on Thursday, Okoye said the commission had, in line with section 35 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), fixed July 31, 2021, as the deadline for withdrawal and substitution of candidates for the Anambra poll.

He said, “By the deadline, seven governorship and 11 deputy governorship candidates were substituted by 11 out of the 18 political parties.”

Okoye added, “The final list of candidates will be published on October 7, 2021, as provided in the timetable and schedule of activities for the election.”

However, the campaign organization of factional governorship aspirant of the APGA, in Anambra State, Chukwuma Umeoji, has rejected the decision of INEC, to publish Charles Soludo as the governorship candidate of the party.

Umeoji said that INEC’s action is relevant and contempt of valid order of Owerri High Court, which affirmed his candidacy and action cannot survive his ongoing legal onslaught.

Also, Jude Okeke, factional Chairman of the party also said he considers contempt proceedings against INEC, insisting that they remain the flag bearer of the party in the November election.

“The attention of the Ag. National Chairman of APGA, High Chief Jude Okeke, has been drawn to a Press Release by the Independent National Electoral Commission titled “Candidates for Anambra Governorship Election” dated 19th August 2021,” the statement on Thursday said.

“The Ag. National Chairman insists that by the provisions of both the Electoral Act and the INEC timetable, INEC ought not to make any other publications of candidates until October which would be the final publication. This publication by INEC is unknown to law and should be discountenanced as we would not be party to aiding INEC in violating the laws of our land.”

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