Despite appeal court’s verdict, INEC says Edo election stands

        Despite the likely legal threat posed by the Court of Appeal’s verdict on deregistration of parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  has said it would not postpone the September 19 governorship election in Edo state.

Doing this, it said, could lead to a constitutional crisis.

The commission also said out of 14 items in the preparation for the governorship election, nine of them had been implemented.

The commission also justified why it deregistered some political parties, explaining that they had no verifiable addresses, with some of them traced to business centres.

The appellate court declared the deregistration of political parties by INEC as a nullity.

But the commission however, said it would challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court, claiming the appellate court had contradicted its earlier judgement where it upheld INEC’s action. 

Featuring on Channels Television Morning Rise Programme, Wednesday, the INEC National Commissioner for Information and Chairman of Voter Education Festus Okoye  said the forthcoming governorship poll  stands as announced as  the participating  political parties had  complied with INEC’s notice over threats of violence.

 “INEC is progressively moving ahead with the September 19 Edo state governorship election. There are fourteen items for the election and nine of them have been implemented and non-sensitive materials have been deployed. We are proceeding with the election as planned.

“The political parties on their own are complying with the commission’s warning on violence and we have also observed a change from the threats of violence. So, we are moving ahead with the election,”  Okoye stated.

The INEC National Commissioner also said there would be a constitutional crisis, if the election was postponed because section 178 (2) stated the timeline for the election to be conducted.

The Edo state governorship election, he said, must be conducted before October 13, or else, there would be a constitutional crisis.

Okoye said political parties were “pulling out of their threats of violence and INEC is therefore going ahead with the governorship election as planned.”

On deregistration of political parties, Okoye said in November 2019 the commission wrote the political parties, but discovered  they had no verifiable addresses.

 “When INEC put a telephone call to their registered telephone numbers, we discovered that the telephone lines were ringing as telephone lines of some business centres and some of them have no verifiable office addresses,” he said.

Further to this, the INEC chief said most of the political parties were deregistered because they did not meet the constitutional requirements of section 225(A), which states that any political party that did not score a 25 percent vote in one local government election, or 25 percent in any local government during a governorship election is a breach of the law.He said  the law states that it should be on votes scored by the political party and not the capacity to win votes, insisting that capacity to win votes is futuristic, while the extant laws is insisting on actual votes scored.

Okoye denied knowledge that INEC deregistered some of the political parties in question despite court action for INEC not to do so.

He similarly faulted the claim that the electoral body deregistered any political party that was in any tribunal challenging the outcome of any election. “INEC allowed for a full circle of the tribunals to be finished before it commenced the deregistration processes of the defaulting political parties.”

He said  there was no record before it that one of the deregistered political parties, the Kowa party, had any record of winning a councillor in any part of the country, explaining that the commission would make the necessary corrections, if presented a factual and verifiable evidence.

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