The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has warned that the diversity of court orders is posing a huge threat to the Governorship election in Anambra on November 6. Election arbitrators observed that some orders “have the tendency of eroding the powers of the commission and compromising its independence, powers and timelines for the conduct of the upcoming election.”
The commission also noted that as some political parties and candidates perfected the art of shopping as soon as possible or as late as possible, it became increasingly difficult to comply with the latest or earlier court orders and rulings. He insists that the planning and preparation of the elections requires certainty and adherence to schedules.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner of INEC and President of the Voter Information and Education Committee, expressed his concern at the executive meeting of the Ministry of Education and Voter Propaganda. According to him: “The Commission has variously and consistently complained at the frequency and consistency with which courts of coordinate jurisdiction from different jurisdictions all over Nigeria assumed jurisdiction and delivered judgements and issued orders with far- reaching implications on the conduct of the Anambra State Governorship election.”
Mr. Okoye also added, “In our Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of Elections as well as the Timetable and Schedule of Activities, the Commission issues access code to the National Chairman of Political Parties with which they upload the Personal Particulars and List of their candidates electronically.
“This obviated the demonstrations, fights and violence normally witnessed in the premises of the Commission by different factions of political parties and the National and State branches of political parties.
“Unfortunately, some of the judgements and Orders were given especially on the primary elections in Anambra State have bypassed our portal and sought to restore the manual submission of the List and Personal Particulars of candidates.
“It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the Commission to obey Court Orders and judgements that are the latest in time or the first in time as some of the Political Parties and the candidates have perfected the art of shopping for the first in time or the latest in time. The planning and preparation for election require certainty and adherence to timelines.”
He further stated “The leadership of the Bar Association and the Leadership of the Judiciary must wade into this descent to forum shopping and the multiplicity of Orders and judgements from courts of coordinate jurisdiction. This is urgent, it is imperative and cannot be carried over to the 2023 general election.”