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Council Polls: Court Stops House Probe of ANSIEC, As Obi’s Promise Becomes Doubtful



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Another attempt by the Anambra State House of Assembly(ANHA) to delve into the operations of the state’s Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) has been halted by the court.

The move has also thrown big shadow of doubt on the recent assurances by Gov Peter Obi of his commitment towards conducting council election in the state soon.

The Assembly had in a letter dated Nov 26, 2012, ref HA.5/AN/LMD/PAC/86, which was signed by Chief Gabriel Onyenwife who is the chairman of the standing committee on Public Accounts to the commission’s “Acting Chairman”, mandated them to get ready to receive the committee “for purpose of financial verification of the audited accounts for the year ended Dec 31, 2010, as submitted by the state’s Auditor General”.

Apparently sensing that the move was a surreptitious way to perfect the appointment of a new chairman for commission, the embattled chairman, Prof Titus Eze, immediately wrote to the Assembly. The letter from one of his lawyers, Mr Ikenna Obidiegwu in a letter dated Nov 29, 2012 drew their attention to the pending suit No A/136/2011 between Prof Eze Vs Governor of Anambra state and Anambra state Assembly.

He notified the Assembly that the removal of his client was unconstitutional and illegal, hence it was being challenged in court. More so, that the court had issued an injunction restraining the defendants-the Governor and the Assembly from appointing anyone either in acting capacity to the position of chairman of the Commission.

He therefore described the Assembly’s moves as sub-judice, as it runs foul of Sec 125(3) of the Constitution, hence should be avoided by a law-making body like the Anambra Assembly.

Investigations revealed that the letter instantly threw the Assembly in panic as the Speaker, Chinwe Nwaebili summoned the committee to wash her hands off their moves. She said she would not like to be caught in any unneccesary legal complications.

However, the governor had in a recent meeting with chairmen of political parties assured that he would soon conduct council election. And that a committee has been set up to harmonize all pending cases that had put legal wedges towards smooth conduct of the election.

But nearly three months after, Prof Eze has confirmed that no one approached him directly or through any of his lawyers. This therefore cast a shadow of doubt over the possibility of the Obi administration to conduct the council election before leaving office. The governorship election in the state has been slated for Nov 16 or 17, and that has taken over the shine off any talk about council election in the state which had been due about eleven years ago, since May 29, 2003.

Again, Eze pointed out that the defendants were holding down the suit from progressing as they had dogged it with numerous motions and injunctions.

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