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Anambra guber: INEC reveals when campaign will start

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Barr Festus Okoye
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Ahead of Anambra governorship poll slated for November 6, 2021, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that campaign by governorship candidates will start on August 8, 2021 which is three months before the election.

Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education of INEC, Festus Okoye stayed this at a stakeholders meeting at Awka, Anambra State capital on Tuesday.

He lamented the series of rulings by Courts of coordinate jurisdictions across States of the Federation, urging the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to wade into the development which was largely caused by forum shopping, adding that, court ruling was creating difficulties for INEC.

Okoye said the endless and consistent judgements of courts was having a far reaching implications which was already interfering with activities of INEC.

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Okoye said: “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. 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.

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He explained that the rapidity with which orders and judgements are issued has made it difficult to obey the decisions of the courts and pleaded with NBA for immediate intervention to stop the trend from slipping to the 2023 general election.

“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. 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.

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He blamed the political parties for failing to asher to “obey and conform to their Constitutions and Guidelines for the conduct of Party Primaries as well as the provisions of section 87 of the Electoral Act.

“Political parties must extricate themselves from the web and crisis of endless litigation arising from the conduct of primaries, own their rules and also comply with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 [as amended] in all their activities.”

On the campaigns, he urged the political parties to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols and avoid the use of uncouth language in their effort to sway voters.

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