The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, has given reasons why the commission has not conducted the rerun election for the Anambra Central Senatorial District.
Yakubu said that politicians in the country had continued to take political matters already decided by the Supreme Court to lower courts, which according to him, was affecting the activities of the commission.
The INEC boss said this at a capacity-building workshop organised for leaders of political parties in Abuja on Wednesday.
The INEC chairman said that politicians had disregarded the 2009 judgment of the Supreme Court in a matter between INEC and the Labour Party that a candidate and a political party were barred from participating in a rerun on account of candidate disqualification in an election.
According to him, the commission had not been able to hold the rerun election in Anambra Central Senatorial District because of court orders on matters already decided by the Supreme Court.
He said, “There are so many court cases even on matters settled by the Supreme Court and the constitution of Nigeria is very clear on it. Once there is a pronouncement by the Supreme Court, all citizens and all actors are duty-bound to obey it until there is another law superseding that passed by the National Assembly or assented to or a reconsideration of the same judgment by the Supreme Court.
“But there are matters settled by the Supreme Court that are still subject of litigation.
“For instance, the famous Labour Party versus INEC case in 2009, says that once an election is nullified on account of candidate disqualification, the disqualified candidate cannot participate in the rerun election and the party that fielded the disqualified candidate has also lost the right to field candidate in the election.
“But unfortunately, some political parties went back to the court and we have been served injunctions that fly in the face of the decision of the Supreme Court. That is why the only rerun election in Anambra Central Senatorial District hasn’t been conducted till date.”
Yakubu said that the commission had taken a decision to organise a forum to bring together legal advisers of political parties to discuss the disturbing development.
He also called for effective collaborative efforts between the commission and political parties in the area of party finance and expenditure, which he said, was under the regulatory responsibilities of the commission.
The INEC boss said that the commission was committed to the development of the capacity of political parties’ treasurers and auditors, adding that INEC would organise a capacity-building workshop for them in two weeks in order to prevent the nation’s democracy from becoming a plutocracy.
“The second area is to find ways by which the commission and political parties can continue to work together in the area of party finance and campaign expenditure in which INEC has regulatory responsibilities under the law,” he said.