The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday (INEC) said the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun election will hold as scheduled on January 13, despite a Federal High Court judgement asking it (INEC) to issue the PDP candidate, Mr. Obiora Okonkwo, a certificate of return as the duly elected candidate.
This was revealed on Thursday by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Dr. Nkwachkwu Orji.
He said the Commission had commenced training of ad hoc personnel in that respect.
Anambra Central Senatorial District had been without a senator since 2015 when a Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, sacked the occupant of the position, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife.
The court asked INEC to conduct a rerun in the district within 90 days, while disqualifying Ekwunife and her political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, from participating in the rerun.
The PDP then challenged its exclusion in the rerun at the Federal High Court, Abuja, with the court granting judgement in its favour.
The candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Umeh, and APGA had contended that PDP should not field a candidate in the rerun since it was at its instance that the election was nullified on December 7, 2015.
On Monday, November 20, 2017, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja delivered a judgment in favour of Umeh, in which it ordered INEC to conduct the rerun election within 90 days of the judgment, excluding the PDP from contesting in the rerun.
Following this, INEC fixed the rerun for January 13, 2018.
But on 13th December, 2017, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja declared Obiora Okonkwo of the PDP as senator representing Anambra central senatorial district in a judgement delivered by Justice John Tsoho.
Tsoho asked INEC to issue Okonkwo a certificate of return, just as it ordered the Senate President to swear in the PDP candidate immediately as the senator for Anambra Central District.
According to report by The Punch, the Anambra REC said its legal department had studied the judgement and asked it to go ahead with the election as ordered by the Court of Appeal, as against Tsoho’s Federal High Court judgement.
The REC said, “We are going ahead with the election as scheduled.
“We have started training ad hoc personnel in that respect.
“Our legal department has asked us to go ahead and obey the Court of Appeal order against the Federal High Court judgement.
“So, we are going ahead to conduct the election on January 13,” the REC stated.