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ENSIEC reverses self, clears disqualified candidates for November 4 council poll

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• INEC to deploy magnifying glasses for Anambra governorship election
The Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) yesterday reversed itself on the disqualification of candidates in the November 4 council election in the state.

Public outcry had greeted the disqualification of candidates of the opposition political parties over alleged non-payment of taxes among other claims by the commission.

The situation led to calls by the affected political parties for the dissolution of the commission and threat to stop the election.

But addressing reporters in Enugu after its meeting yesterday, ENSIEC Chairman, Mike Ajogwu, said the disqualification had no legal backing, adding that the commission lacked the powers to disqualify any candidate based on tax issues.

He stated that he had looked through the laws guiding the conduct of elections into the councils and House of Assembly in sections 106 and 107 of the constitution and discovered that there was no mention of tax as requirement to contest elections.

He, therefore, urged political parties to support the commission, as there was no intention to disenfranchise any candidate or favour any political party in the election and reassured that the commission would provide a level playing field for all.

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ben Nwoye, lauded the commission decision, stressing that there was no constitutional backing for the earlier action.

Nwoye, who insisted that ENSIEC has no legal power to screen candidates, disagreed with ENSIEC for insisting that candidates who were unable to participate in the screening exercise of the commission remained disqualified.

He argued that ENSIEC did not follow due process or its guidelines in disqualifying the candidates, adding, “from every indication, the ENIEC chairman is acting under pressure, as the Commission is bent in exercising the powers they do not have.”

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) is to deploy the use of handheld magnified glasses to enable those with albinism to vote in the November 18 governorship elections in Anambra.

This, it said, was a deliberate measure aimed at ensuring an all inclusive election bearing in mind the right of people with disabilities (PWDs) to vote.

INEC made this known yesterday in Abuja at the public presentation of the report titled: Disability Votes Matter organised by Inclusive Friends Association (IFA).


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ENSIECINECMike Ajogwu

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