A former senator, Annie Okonkwo has faulted plans by political parties that participated in the March 28 National Assembly elections to conduct fresh primaries for the rerun senatorial election in Anambra Central.
Mr. Okonkwo described the move as not only “illegal and unconstitutional”, but a violation of the Electoral Act because the time scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for parties to substitute candidates expired last year.
Okonkwo, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra Central, said, in a statement Wednesday, that “it would amount to an illegality to allow PDP and APC to field fresh candidates for the re- run election in the Anambra Central senatorial district”.
He further stated that “The court did not ask political parties to conduct fresh primaries. The court only ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun within 90 days.
“Ngige, who is the only person that can contest the rerun in the All Progressives Congress (APC), was quoted to have said that he would not participate in the election.
“So, it is laughable to read that Ekwunife, who the Court of Appeal disqualified and nullified her election has defected to APC to participate in the rerun. Though, she has been disqualified by APC.
“In the recent judgment, the three-man appellate panel led by Justice A.H. Yahya had nullified the March 28 election, saying that Ekwunife did not meet the provision of the Electoral Act because she wasn’t a product of a valid primary”, Okonkwo said.
He warned that if APC or any other political party go ahead to field a new candidate and wins the rerun, it would cause another legal battle because those who will emerge, will not be product of a valid primary.
Okonkwo, who was the senator for Anambra Central from 2007 to 2015, said the right thing for parties to do is to allow those who participated in the primary to take part in the rerun.
He insisted that “if Ngige is no longer interested in the rerun, APC won’t be able to participate”.
Ngige, who is now Minister of Labour and Employment, has said he is not interested in the Anambra Central senatorial re-run election as his “national assignment” is more important to him.