The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that multiple of court orders arising from the party primaries constitute a major threat to the conduct of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
The electoral umpire observed that some of the 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 it is becoming increasingly difficult to obey court orders and judgments that are the latest in time or the first in time as some political parties and candidates have perfected the art of shopping for the first in time or the latest in time.
It insisted the planning and preparation for election require certainty and adherence to timelines.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, raised the concern at the implementation meeting of the voter education and publicity department.
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 judgments and issued orders with far-reaching implications on the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election.
“Some of the 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”.
He 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 judgments 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 judgments 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.
“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 judgments from courts of coordinate jurisdiction. This is urgent; it is imperative and cannot be carried over to the 2023 general election.”