By Akinloye Oyeniyi
It is now clearer that the political party the Ndigbos greatly identified with, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has excluded itself from the Anambra governorship election slated for November 6.
This is not by any other means but the party’s contravention of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Regulations And Guidelines, the Timetable of Activities for the said poll and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)
According to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all political parties having interest in nominating candidates for the election are to conduct their primaries for the nomination of candidates between 10th June and 1st July 2021.
The recognized All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Victor Ike-Oye chose 23rd June, 2021 to conduct its primaries by means of indirect method.
According to Section 4.5 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party primaries, all political parties holding indirect primaries must make the list of delegates for the primaries available to the Commission at least 7 days before the conduct of the primaries.
Similarly, in accordance with Section 9 of the same Regulations and Guidelines, all political parties must make available to the Commission the list of members of the election committee of the party conducting these primaries; and pursuant to Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), all political parties shall give the Commission at least 21 days notice of any congress or meeting convened for the purpose of nominating candidates for elections.
The Victor Ike-Oye-led APGA having chosen indirect method and slated such for 23rd June, should have written to give the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) statutory 21 days notice before organizing the congress/es or meeting/s where its delegates that will in turn nominate its candidate on the 23rd June are to be elected or selected. The party can give such notice covering both its congress/es or meeting and primary which could be some days after. But unfortunately the party failed to do this within timeframe and there is no time again to legally do that, thereby rendering its primary where the former CBN governor, Charles Soludo emerged, null and void.
Days to its 23rd June primary, the party submitted its delegates list to the Commission; and the Commission denied any awareness of the list submitted by the party to be that of an outcome of a democratic process as required by Section 87(7) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), as it was not duly notified in accordance with Section 85(1) of selfsame Act to monitor the process.
Dew days leading to the party primary, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in two letters in circulation dropped the legality that will eventually bar the party from participating in the forthcoming poll in November. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APGA’s disqualification followed the party’s failure to duly notify it of the date of the congress/meeting where the ad-hoc delegates for the party’s guber primary were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)
If not for some other problems, as the Oye faction had missed the issuance of statutory notice, the party faithfuls would have heaved a brief sigh and then go for the Jude Okeke faction as rescue boat as it dully submitted all the notices to INEC. But the authentic National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) based on the Friday July 13th, 2018 Supreme Court unanimous ruling is Victor Oye, which the Okeke faction has suspended like Soludo.
So, INEC relying on Supreme Court’s unanimous decision recognizing Victor Oye as the authentic National Chairman of the party, the Victor Oye aurhentic APGA having disqualified itself from the race and the Jude Okeke faction having no legality to rescue the party as it is Oye instead of Okeke that should have signed the ‘within timeframe’ statutory notices that can still accomodate the party participation, list of aspirants and nomination of candidate; the All Progressive Grand Alliance which in many quarters is viewed as the home of Ndigbo, is unfortunately and legally out of the Anambra governorship race.
Akinloye Oyeniyi is the former Director of Voter Education, Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (Council of all political parties in Nigeria with INEC as observer)