The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it collected the list of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State because there was no court order or judgement barring it from doing so.
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday, the INEC National Commissioner on Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye said as at the time the APC submitted the list, the electoral body had not been served any court order or any judgment barring the party from submitting the list.
“The APC conducted party primary in the state and the party primary election was monitored by INEC and at the end of the day, the National Chairman of APC and the National Secretary forwarded the list of candidates that emerged from the primary election to INEC and INEC collected the list as submitted by the national chairman and secretary of the APC,” Okoye said.
“On the date of submission of the list, there was no order from any court of law served on INEC to the effect that the electoral body should not collect the list of candidates from Rivers State,” he added.
Okoye further disclosed that in the next few days, INEC would publish the list of candidates for governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the various constituencies in accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court had on October 22, 2018 knocked the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal for granting an application in favour of the APC as regards the conduct of the party’s congresses in the state.
In its unanimous judgement, the five-man panel of the apex court held that the Court of Appeal committed what it described as a sacrilegious exercise of discretion by favouring the APC in its June 21, 2018 judgement despite the party’s decision to conduct its congresses in Rivers State in disobedience of subsisting orders of the court.
The Supreme Court faulted the action of the APC, describing the conduct of the party’s ward, local government and state congresses of May 19, 20 and 21, 2018 respectively in the state as ‘condemnable, egregious and preposterous’.