Leader of the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, has said the party in the state is working on committing the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to prison for violation of court order.
He said that the INEC leadership has flagrantly refused to obey court orders which he said restrained him from recognising candidates that emerged in parallel primaries conducted by the two factions of the party in the state.
Emerhor, in an interview with newsmen, in Abuja, claimed that all efforts to get the commission to obey the order had fell on deaf ears.
But the National Commissioner in Charge of Publicity and Voter Education , Festus Okoye, said the Commission will not deliberately ignore court orders because it it is a constitutional institution.
He said the commission has been contending with multiple court orders arising from the primaries urging parties and individuals with genuine case to approach the commission with it fir resolution .
“INEC cannot flout court orders. It derives its powers from the constitution. There have been multiple court orders arising from the primaries and we are attending to them,” Okoye said
But Emerhor who won senatorial seat for Delta Central in the primaries conducted by his faction explained that in view of the factional crisis rocking the state chapter of the APC, his group had approached the court and secured a court order stopping INEC from publishing the names of candidates for National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly posts, but stated that INEC had gone ahead to disobey the court order.
He said the APC faction has served the Commission with Form 48, to start the contempt of court proceedings adding that the party would have no choice than to slam contempt charge on the INEC Chairman and commit him to prison.
Apart from that he said his faction of APC in Delta had also written the electoral commission twice through the counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN but added that INEC had so far ignored the party.
He said, “It’s very clear that we have no choice than to go for committal to prison of the INEC Chairman.
“That will be our next step because we cannot accept that a court will give an order and INEC will not obey.
“I can understand if the APC does not want to even obey, not that I understand it, but because the prior action of the Chairman has shown that he does not take our group seriously.
“So, I can understand that and if you want to damn the consequences of the court as a partisan in this matter, I can understand it, but not the INEC Chairman.
“The INEC Chairman ought to be independent because the constituency of the country is his. He has no personal interest in this matter. So, you ought to obey the court.”
He stated that when his group noticed the actions of INEC by refusing to obey the court order, it got Chief Ozekhome to engage the commission.
He said, “We engaged Chief Mike Ozekhome, a SAN, when we noticed their silence, to again write to INEC and to the National Chairman, forwarding these orders.
“I’m bringing it again to their attention, which we know they know and the consequences of disobeying court order and bringing out this point that we have not heard anything from them.
“We suspect they want to disobey this order. We got Ozekhome again to write the second letter to INEC and even at that, INEC has not responded.
“We thought that, having defied the order in the submission of the National Assembly candidates, having the form 48, having written two letters through a SAN to them, having sent our people to go and engage their legal department on a formal basis and they kept mute, not even trying to explain what is going on, we thought that in the Governorship and the State Assembly list, they would obey the order. But, as we speak, they still published the candidates’ list.”