The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says if the Appeal Court order for the restoration of All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s candidate into the ballot, the party could still partake in the December 5, 2020 by-election.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye explained this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa on Monday when he accompanied the acting National Chairman of INEC, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed (rtd) on infection of materials for the election to ascertain the commission’s readiness.
Nigerian pilot report that Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa had early in the month disqualified the APC candidate in Bayelsa West, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi and INEC last week excluded the party from the contest.
Okoye said that once the commission is served by a court judgement, it’s bound to obey, but if the apple court says otherwise, it will restore the party logo and its candidate.
He said: “By the provision of the 285 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal High Court, the State High Court and High Court of FCT have been given the powers and jurisdiction to entertain pre-election matters and part of that process is that the moment the commission is served with a court order, it is bound to obey.
“If the Court of Appeal sets aside that particular judgement, the commission will also obey, but first is to look at the court order, see the statement of the court order and obey.
“If court order says APC, as a political party does not have a candidate in the election and commission, should remove the logo of the APC from the ballot, we are going to comply with that if the Court of Appeal says restore, and we have the time to do that, we will restore, if it is at least three days to the election, we will definitely restore and the APC will be on the ballot.
“If such judgement comes after the election, it depends on the specific order which the court has made, but whatsoever the court says, we will obey.” He said.
The acting National Chairman of INEC, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed (rtd), said the commission is fully prepared for the by-elections both in Bayelsa State and other affected states.