Anambra 2021: INEC drops APGA’s Soludo, bars PDP candidate

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has published the list for candidates contesting the November gubernatorial elections in Anambra State, taking candidate of the ruling  All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) off the ballot while barring leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the contest.

On Friday, the electoral commission listed approved party candidates for the governorship election in Anambra state on its website.

Candidates of APGA, Chukwuma Soludo, and PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo, were both not listed in the document published by INEC amidst several legal tussles on recognition as the flag bearer of their respective parties. 

A press statement issued by INEC spokesman Festus Okoye mentioned that the electoral commission relied on court orders to bar Messrs Soludo and Ozigbo.

“The Commission also considered and took cognisance of the Judgments/Court Orders served on it in relation to the primaries of the political parties and other processes leading to the election,” he said
“In line with section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) the personal particulars of the candidates will be published in the Commissions Notice Board in Awka, Anambra State while the names of the candidates, their gender, party, age, qualification and the Commissions decision/ remarks are herein attached. 

“The Commission will continue to act in consonance with the Constitution and the law and will continue to obey the judgements and orders of courts served on it.”

There have have legal fireworks since candidates of APGA and PDP emerged from their party’s respective primaries. Factions in the parties had approached courts to get their candidates recognised as authentic candidates of the parties, resulting in conflicting judgements from various courts.

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A State High Court in Awka had ruled on July 5, that Senator Ugochukwu Uba be recognised as the flag bearer of the PDP in the coming election following factional crisis in the party. 

In a different turn of events, the State High Court in Awka presided over by Justice Obiora A. Nwabunike, has vacated the order that recognised Mr Uba as candidate of the PDP granting legal recognition to the former Transcorp boss Mr Ozigbo, as the candidate of the PDP.

Similarly, a factional leader in APGA, Edozie Njoku, had filed a motion before an Awka Division of the Federal High Court, presided by Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa that he be recognised as the National Chairman of the party to avail him the authority to convene his own primary elections to determine the flag bearer of the party in the state gubernatorial elections. 

The court declined his motion, upholding Mr Soludo as the flag bearer of the party. 

As of the time of publishing the list by INEC, both candidates had legal standing so it is unclear why INEC refused to recognise them as running candidates of their parties.

As it stands, INEC has replaced Mr Soludo with Micheal Umeoji as the governorship candidate for APGA while the PDP has been dropped from participating in governorship election.

The Anambra State governorship election has been scheduled by INEC to hold on November 6, 2021.

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