COURT of Appeal, Abuja Division,
yesterday refused an application
seeking to restrain the Independent
National Electoral Commission,
INEC, from conducting the rerun
election into the Anambra Central
Senatorial District of Anambra State.
The court said that the earlier
order made on November 20, 2017,
directing INEC to conduct election
for the senatorial seat within 90 days
could not be reversed so as not to
make mockery of the judiciary.
Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya
refused to grant the request for the
postponement of the election already
scheduled for tomorrow brought
before it by a senatorial aspirant of
the Peoples Democratic party, PDP,
senator Ani Clement Okonkwo.
Okonkwo had through his counsel,
Chief Solomon Umoh (SAN),
approached the appellate court for
leave to appeal against the decision
of the Court of Appeal which had on
November 20 last year ordered INEC
to conduct fresh election into the
vacant Anambra Central Senatorial District within 90 days.
In the application, Okonkwo
claimed that he was interested
in challenging the judgement of
November 20, last year as a senatorial
However, the application could not
be entertained because most parties
joined in the application were not
served with the court processes by
Apparently cut in the web,
Okonkwo then applied for an
adjournment into the application to
enable him serve court processes on
the respondents.
Mindful of the fact that the
senatorial election had been fixed
by INEC for tomorrow, Okonkwo
applied to the three man panel of the
Appeal Court for an order compelling
the electoral body not to conduct the
election until his application has been
dully determined.
He urged the court to compel INEC
counsel, Tanimu Inuwa, to make an
undertaken in the open court that
INEC will not go ahead with the
election having become aware of his
pending application and so as not to
render the application useless.
At this stage, INEC counsel, objected
to the request for an order to put the
election on hold on the ground that
huge public fund has been expended
on preparation for the poll by INEC.
The counsel vehemently insisted that
INEC will not make any undertaken to
postpone the poll because of the subsisting
appeal court judgment of November 20
which ordered INEC to conduct the poll
within 90.
In his brief ruling Justice Abubakar
Yahaya said that the court cannot
compel INEC to make any undertaken
to postpone the election because of an
application that was not ripe for hearing.
Justice Yahaya further said that the
Appeal Court having made an order on
November 20 last year cannot probate
and reprobate at the same time.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we have
not restrained INEC from conducting
the election as ordered by this court on
November 20, 2017”, the court said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Grand
Alliance, APGA, has given kudos to
INEC for its decision to go ahead with
the proposed Jan 13 Anambra Central
Senatorial rerun.
National Publicity Secretary of
APGA, Chief Ifeanyi Obi-Okoye
told newsmen in Awka yesterday
that INEC had demonstrated
constitutionality and character on the
Obi-Okoye said the decision of
INEC to obey the Court of Appeal
judgment over Federal High Court
was in tandem with the principle of
legal jurisprudence which says the
decision of a high court will at all-time
supersede that of a lower court.
He described the December 13
Federal High Court which ruled that
Dr Obiora Okonkwo was the valid
candidate of the PDP in the March
2015 election as having no moment
and a distraction.
“INEC is acting on rule of law and
not sentiment or emotion, this is not
an issue of media trial but matter of
fundamental legal jurisprudence,” he
Obi-Okoye said the election would be
a keen contest as 14 political parties
would be taking part in the process.