Friday, 5 February 2016

Re-run Polls: INEC Disqualifies Fresh Candidates

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday released timetable for Senatorial and House of Representatives   rerun elections across the country barring fresh candidates from participating in the contest.

The commission, in a release by the Secretary, Mrs Augusta Ogakwu, fixed February and March for the elections even as it disqualified some candidates from partaking in the exercise. It said only candidates and parties that partook in the March 28, 2015 National Assembly/presidential elections would be eligible for the rerun election.

In Abia, the commission disqualified the candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. David Ogba Onuoha. It cleared the candidate of Progressive Peoples  Alliance (PPA), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and that of other parties .

In Anambra, the commission disqualified candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and  All Progressives Congress (APC), Mrs Sharon Ikeazor. APC is only eligible to participate in the poll if Dr. Chris Ngige, currently Minister of Labour and Employment , who contested the March 28, 2015 poll, would resign and vie again.

Similarly, INEC disqualified APC candidates in the Kogi East and Central senatorial districts. It, however, gave green light to other parties that participated in the first election to contest in the new exercise.

In Rivers State where the three senatorial seats were cancelled by courts, the commission cleared all the candidates that contested the cancelled election. It equally cleared all the candidates for the House of Representatives seats in the state.

Giving reasons for barring some candidates, the commission explained  that since it is not a general election, it is against the Electoral Act for fresh candidates to contest in the rerun, emphasising   that the same candidates and the political parties that contested the first elections should take part.

According to the notice; “Following consultations with major stakeholders in the electoral process and the public interest in the subject, INEC at its meeting on Monday considered and approved dates for the conduct of elections as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

“Consequent upon the judgments  of the court, the commission will conduct the elections in 69 of the constituencies with the same political parties and their candidates who participated in the annulled elections in Gombe, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, and Rivers”.

Announcing that the elections would hold between February 13 and March 19, the commission specifically made it clear that only the same candidates  and political parties that participated in the first election will take part in the rerun, adding that the Senate election in Abia North will be held in 43 polling booths.

The public notice further specified that while senatorial elections will take place in five states, like Abia, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Benue and Rivers, House of Representatives and state Assembly polls will complete the rest reruns.

Giving more breakdown of the elections, INEC disclosed that in Rivers  State, six state constituency elections will hold in 124 polling units, three senatorial seats and 12 federal constituencies will be contested in all the whole constituencies, adding that about 18 state assembly seats will be contested.

Concluding, INEC further noted on Rivers: “The commission further gives notice that the political parties and candidates entitled to participate in the elections in the other 11 constituencies are contained in detailed lists of elections.”

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