The vaunting ambition of Hon Mrs. Uche Ekwunife who is seeking to represent Anambra Central in the Senate and other PDP stalwarts seeking elective positions in Anambra State in the coming general elections has finally grounded to a halt following an injunction from Federal High Court 1, sitting in Awka, restraining PDP and two others from putting up multiple candidates for one elective position in the coming elections.

unnamed (3)This followed a motion brought before Justice Ibrahim Bature Gafai by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) against the People?s Democratic Party (PDP) and two others in which the plaintiff prayed the court to restrain PDP from presenting multiple candidates for the same positions in the coming elections outside of those that were duly cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

APGA argued through its prosecutor, Patrick Nwankwo Ikweto, SAN, that the continued campaign for votes by PDP elements and others whose names did not appear on the INEC List was against the 1999 Constitution and the nation?s Electoral Act.

The party further maintained that Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution allows only a political party to campaign for votes while section 100 (1) of the Electoral Act entitles only a candidate and his party to campaign for elections. Section 31 (3) summarily requires INEC to publish the particulars of a candidate of a party thereby making it illegal for candidates whose names were not published by INEC to campaign for elections.

In his ruling, on the suit number SHC/AWK/CS/23/2015, Justice Gafai ordered the parties in dispute to maintain the status quo. Justice Gafai also ordered that all persons who are not candidates published by INEC should cease forthwith from campaigning for elections pending the determination of the substantive suit.

With this legal instrument in place, all political aspirants in the state who have been campaigning for votes in absolute defiance to the new Anambra State law against illegal solicitation for votes entitled the ?Breaches of the Peace and Unlawful Assemblies Law which took effect from January 20, 2015 are wilfully asking for arrest and possible prosecution.

Following the confusing scenario created by the emergence of multiple ?candidates? campaigning for votes in Anambra State long after INEC had released the official list of candidates for the coming elections, the Anambra State House of Assembly had risen in earnest to forestall an impending breakdown of law and order with the Breaches of the Peace and Unlawful Assemblies Law.

Section 3 (1) of the Law stipulates that ?A person shall not advertise, publish, and solicit for votes for or otherwise engage in any campaign for himself or for a person whose name was not duly published by INEC or ANSIEC or any other electoral body within Nigeria as a nominated person for any election within Anambra State.?

Section 3[2] also states that ?Any person who acts in contravention of subsection [1] of this Section is hereby declared to have engaged or to be engaging in an unlawful assembly with intent to cause public disorder and breaches of public peace.?

Similarly, it would be recalled that early this week, the youths of Anambra State had taken to the streets in a peaceful demonstration against the brazen violation of the Breaches of the Peace and unlawful Assemblies Law of Anambra State by some influential politicians who had continued to campaign for votes even when not duly cleared by INEC.

The youths who brandished placards with assorted messages had marched to the INEC office in Awka where they presented a litany of demands to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the state, Engr. Edwin Nwatalari, and handed him a 48 hours ultimatum to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act in Anambra State with regards to party candidacy or forget about holding elections in the state.

Led by Comrade Ikem Maduagwu, the youths which came together under the aegis of the General Coalition of Anambra Youths took umbrage at the statement credited to the PDP national secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo who reportedly called on the party?s rival candidates in the state to continue with their campaigns, observing that Oladipo?s comment was indicative of the fact that PDP had deliberately designed its unlawful strategy to gain advantage over other parties.

The court adjourned to Monday, February 9, 2015 for further hearing.


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