The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday denied reports that a Court has issued a ruling that stopped the Cross River state governorship elections from holding this weekend.
In a press release signed by Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, the Commission said “contrary to a widely circulated report that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Cross River State Governorship Election scheduled for Saturday February 25, 2012, from going ahead, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) hereby affirms that there is no such order.”
According to Mr Idowu, the Commission makes the clarification “against the background of the report that the Court restrained INEC from going ahead with the Governorship Election through an order issued in Abuja on Monday, February 20, 2012.
“For avoidance of doubt, INEC has not been served with the purported Court order. The Commission indeed took the pain to check with the Court today February 21, 2012, whether there was such an order. The Court categorically denied issuing the said order. Actually, neither has the Court summoned INEC for defence on any date, as was widely reported,” he said.
Some local newspaper had on Monday reported that A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had restrained INEC from conducting Saturday’s governorship election in Cross River State.
According to the news reports Justice Abdul Kafarati had issued the order following an exparte application filed and argued by Nmerengwa Alozie, counsel to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its governorship candidate, Obol Patrick Okomiso.
INEC was purportedly ordered to appear in court on Thursday for its defence.
The plaintiffs according to the newspapers argued that conducting the election on Saturday instead of the April 14 earlier fixed is illegal and unconstitutional.
According to them, the new date is in conflict with the mandatory timetable set by the Electoral Act for submission of names and addresses of party candidates for the election.
They argued that INEC had no legal justification whatsoever to bring forward the date of the said election.