There seems to be no reprieve for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it has not reversed its decision to exclude candidates of the party in the state from contesting in the forthcoming general elections.
INEC’s stand coincided with Wednesday’s decision by the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt granting stay of execution on the judgment of the Federal High Court barring the Commission from listing candidates of the APC in the state on the ballot in the coming general elections.
The Court of Appeal had on Monday ordered a stay of execution of the Federal High Court’s ruling, which barred the APC from fielding candidates in the forthcoming general election in Rivers State.
Following the appeal filed by the APC in the state for stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court which was delivered by Justice Kolawole Omotosho, the appellate court granted one of its prayers to stay execution on the judgment.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed Mustapha stated that all parties affected by Justice Omotosho’s judgment have appealed it, stressing that it would be unjust not to grant the application to stay execution of the ruling.
Addressing journalists at an interactive session yesterday in Abuja, INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye said the electoral body had taken decisions on Rivers State APC.
Okoye said: “What the Commission has done is that it has taken a position in relation to the issue of Rivers. If anything changes we will meet as a commission and also take a decision.
“But we have taken a decision relating to the issue of Rivers and if anything changes before we take our final decision, the commission will meet and also take a decision; but we have not taken any other decision and we have not repealed our position on the issue of Rivers.”
Okoye also disclosed that the Commission had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with transport unions for the movement of electoral materials on the election day, adding that the simultaneous accreditation and voting adopted by the Commission was meant for the Nigerian people.
He further revealed that different zonal stores, states and local government offices of INEC were currently taking delivery of non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was taking delivery of sensitive materials.