*as Emeakayi insists INEC has no powers to disqualify candidates
*Only APGA’s Victor Umeh has been campaigning vigorously
As the March 5,2016 scheduled date for the re-run poll to elect the senator that would represent Anambra Central zone in the National Assembly fast draws near, records show it’s only the candidate of the All Progressives a Grand Alliance(APGA), Chief Victor Umeh that hs been campaigning vigorously round the relevant councils.
The disturbing trend became manifest as a result of the political and legal chess game that greeted the Jan 29,2016 verdict of the Supreme Court which threw spanners in the works of key Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “senators” rage on.
The apex court’s pronouncement which many saw as one of the concerted efforts to sanitize the seeming unbridled impunity that literally became the hallmark of the nation’s political space in recent times has forced many to become over-night interpreters of the nation’s jurisprudence and statute books.
Some have continued to confuse the nation and their followers with all manner of interpretations, others have even unilaterally chosen those to contest in the coming re-run poll. This was despite the records of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) which show that baring any odds, the PDP, the APGA and the All Progressives Congress(APC) remain top contenders in the race. They even have continued to peddle (mis)information that the newly hand-picked candidate of the APC, Sharon Ikeazor has been ‘disqualified’ by INEC as a result of a phantom reason.
But one of the chairmen of the PDP in the state, Prince Ken Emeakayi in his reaction to that did not mince words in stating that neither the nation’s constitution, nor the Electoral Act, as respectively amended gave the INEC any such powers to pick and chose or disqualify who would participate or not in any election.
According to him, the laws only prevents political parties that failed to participate in the previous election from presenting any candidate in the re-run election. More so that the relevant laws were explicit on reasons and conditions that any party would follow to present a candidate in a re-run election. The PDP chief therefore sees the reported disqualification of some candidates and political parties in the coming re-run election as a mere rumour and political gossip/strategy being peddled by some of the participating candidates who were afraid of those parties and their candidates.
Again, the absence of other parties/candidates, including Ikeazor in the field while the thickens and the election draws near tended to give an undeserved credence to the rumours.
Every effort to obtain direct comments from Ikeazor on her status in the election had been shrugged off under various guises as she would claim to be in Enugu, Abuja, Lagos, on her way to board a flight for an overseas trip or in a top meeting. She would often seal the usually brief and terse discussion with, “I will call you back once I enter Awka”, and never do.
Another of the likely contenders in the re-run election, Sen Annie Okonkwo was also reported to be blowing very hot air at INEC to issue him, and others on the side of Chief Ejike Oguebego who was returned as the actual PDP chairman in the state by the Supreme Court vide its Jan 29,2016 judgement, their Certificate of Return in consequence of the verdict.
Umeh who has continued to make inroads to others’ territories was reported to have urged the electorates and his supporters to troop out to vote for him and then ensure they protected their ballots. He vowed to give the zone “a quality, active and effective fearless representation”
He remains one of the active proponents of restructuring of the nation’s polity, hence has continued to push for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to implement the 2014 national conference report. He strongly believes that implementation of the confab report would help solve most of the key problems facing the nation today.
The most interesting twist in the unfolding drama ahead the re-run election is that it has exposed the depth of divides within the PDP, especially in Anambra state. Because it could be safe to say that no other state in the country has party (PDP) primaries been more contentious as in the state. It was so bad that once the party submitted two parallel nomination lists to INEC for a single election; yet nothing happened!
Many actors in the drama have continued to unleash all manner of administrative, political and legal stunts to gain advantage. But the many slants to their arguments have shown they either failed to look at the Supreme Court’s copy or chose to misinterpreted and misrepresent it. However, only these coming days would tell who among the actors were mere pretenders.
The councils where the poll will hold include Idemili North, Idemili South, Awka North, Awka South, Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia.