Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has omitted the official candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Valentine Ozigbo, from the list of aspirants cleared to contest the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra state.
This is just as the commission dropped the name of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) from its list of candidates for the November poll.
In the list published, Friday, while omitting PDP and its candidate, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, and APGA’s Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, INEC instead listed Chukwuma Michael Umeoji as the substantive candidate of APGA.
The controversial primary conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) which produced Senator Andy Uba as its candidate also got the approval of the commission, as its candidate was listed.
Incidentally, the dropped candidates of PDP and APGA were produced by the factions of the parties already recognized by INEC, as the latter sent its official s to monitor the primary of both political parties.
INEC, in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, however, cited Court Order for exclusion of the party.
“The Commission also considered and took cognizance of the judgments/court orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election.
“In line with Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) the personal particulars of the candidates will be published in the commission’s notice board in Awka, Anambra State.
“The names of the candidates, their gender, party, age, qualification and the Commission’s decision/remarks are herein attached.
“The Commission will continue to act in consonance with the Constitution and the law and will continue to obey the judgments and orders of courts served on it,” Okoye said.
It would be recalled that while the breakaway Chukwudi Umeaba-led faction of the PDP held its primary at the Paul University playground in Awka, the party recognized Ndubuisi Nwobu-faction conducted its own at the Prof Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, all on Saturday, June 26.
The Umeaba faction had announced Senator Ugochukwu Uba as the party’s candidate for the November 6 governorship poll, as its Returning Officer, Chief Obidi Ebede, said Uba defeated his closest rival, Godwin Ezeemo with 275 against 114 votes. Ebede said there were 665 accredited delegates.
Meanwhile, the Nwobu faction which had the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, and who also doubles as Secretary of the Anambra State Governorship Primary Electoral Committee of the PDP, held its own primary which produced Valentine Chineto Ozigbo of the governorship primary election in Anambra state.
Ozigbo secured 62 votes to clinch the ticket beating the popular Obiora Okonkwo who scored a total of 58 votes to place second in the primary.
For APGA, the Victor Oye faction had produced the former Central Bank Governor, Soludo, as flagbearer, as he had polled 800 votes representing 93.4% of the ballots cast to clinch the party’s ticket.
INEC sent its officials to monitor the primary election conducted by the Oye faction of APGA in preference to the one by the Jude Okeke-led faction which had produced Chukwuma Michael Umeoji as the substantive candidate.
Meanwhile, a statement by the media aide to Mr Valentine Ozigbo, Lady Aziza Oko, made available to newsmen in Awka , Monday had informed that a High Court sitting in Awka declined to renew an order it granted embattled litigant Senator Ugochukwu Uba on the 5th of July, 2021 seeking the non-recognition of Mr Valentine Ozigbo as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.
The said order, initially granted by Justice Obiora A. Nwabunike, going by Order 40, Rule 3(3) of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules could only subsist for 7 days after which the Court may choose to renew it or it stands abated as a result.
According to her, going by the proceedings of Monday, July 12, 2021, and the Court refusal to renew the said order, it stands abated and vacated. Thus, the order which restrained “the Peoples Democratic Party from presenting, receiving, parading or accepting Valentine Ozigbo as the authentic Governorship Candidate for Anambra State”, stands vacated.
The significance of the Court’s refusal to grant a renewal of the said order means in the eye of the law, Valentine Ozigbo remains the recognised PDP Candidate for the November 6 Anambra Governorship election.