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Rivers APC candidates missing on INEC’s list


• Court to rule on Feb 5
• Zamfara guber aspirants insist on contesting

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have excluded the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship and House of Assembly candidates from the March 4 general elections. Names of APC candidates were conspicuously missing from the final list published yesterday at the INEC office in Port Harcourt.

A source at the commission said they were obeying court order as a law-abiding organisation. Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had directed INEC to exclude APC from the election, sequel to a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to compel INEC to obey the judgement of the Rivers State High Court that declared the APC congresses and primaries void.

Justice Omotosho had also ordered the commission to remove all APC candidates from ballot papers and other electoral materials.The party has already filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt seeking a stay of execution of Omotosho’s injunction. The court fixed Tuesday, February 5 to rule on the stay of execution motion on the judgement the high court, which barred Rivers APC from fielding candidates for the March 4 elections.

Senator Magnus Abe and others had filed the motion seeking a stay of execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Omotosho on January 7.Led by Justice A. A. Gumel, the appeal panel reserved the date for ruling after hearing arguments from counsel to the parties.

Meanwhile, an eight-member coalition of APC governorship aspirants in Zamfara State, yesterday, insisted that INEC lacks the power to stop them from contesting the election.A member of the group known as G8, Aminu Jaji, told reporters in Abuja that the party complied with laid down rules in the choice of its flagbearers in the state.

Jaji, who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, described INEC’s resolve to heed the ruling of the Abuja Federal High Court as a step in the right direction.He insisted that the APC settled for a consensus arrangement after series of efforts to conduct primaries using both the direct and indirect mode failed.Said he: “The APC had a consensus arrangement that was very clear. We had three options: direct, indirect and consensus. And we settled for consensus, so as not to lose participation. Our own stand is that the party did the right thing. “That is what the party’s constitution says.”

There was no primary election in Zamfara and we all know this as a fact. INEC sent its officials who attested to that. INEC officials are also in the know of our consensus arrangement endorsed by the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC).”Calling on supporters to exercise restraint, the G8 expressed optimism that the Court of Appeal would surely deliver a favourable ruling on their appeal before February 12.

The group’s position was reinforced by the APC, as its national publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, faulted INEC over the rejection of its candidates from Zamfara. Accusing INEC of double standards, the party wondered why the commission went out of its way to accept PDP’s candidates in Kano State.

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