In the amended candidate lists released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the upcoming governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo on Tuesday evening, the names of Timipre Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver, from the All Progressives Congress (APC) were noticeably absent. The updated list, available on the commission’s website, was signed by INEC’s Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
In the section reserved for the names of the APC candidate and his running mate, the entries were left blank with the notation “court order” provided.
Furthermore, for the Imo governorship election, INEC included the names of Uchechukwu Ishiodu as the governorship candidate and Ahumbe Chiazor as the running mate for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
Oriaran-Anthony, in the revised document, explained that INEC’s actions were in compliance with court orders related to the candidate lists that were served on the commission.
She pointed out that the commission had initially published the final list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election on June 9, in accordance with the provisions of Section 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022, and the Election Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
She noted that after the initial publication, INEC received a court order regarding the nomination of the APC candidate for the Bayelsa governorship election.
“By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Commission is bound to enforce the orders of the court on the nomination of candidates by political parties in the state. The amended list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election is hereby revised in accordance with the court orders served on the commission,” Oriaran-Anthony stated.
In the case of Imo, she also mentioned that INEC had originally published the final list of candidates for the state’s governorship election on June 9, following the same statutory provisions. Subsequently, the commission received a court order for the inclusion of the PRP and its candidate on the list of candidates for the 2023 Imo State governorship election.
Oriaran-Anthony emphasized INEC’s obligation to adhere to court orders regarding the nomination of candidates by political parties and confirmed that the amended candidate list for the 2023 Imo State Governorship election was adjusted in accordance with the court orders received by the commission.
It’s worth noting that the Federal High Court in Abuja had previously disqualified Timipre Sylva from participating in the Bayelsa governorship election. The court’s judgment was based on the grounds that Sylva, having served as governor for two terms totalling five years, would breach the constitution if allowed to contest again.
Similarly, the Federal High Court in the Owerri judicial division had ordered INEC to include the name of the PRP governorship candidate in the list of nominated candidates already published on INEC’s website.
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