The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it will not recognise any election that produces Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the party’s convention on Saturday, May 21, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had last week issued a restraining order, asking the party not to conduct elections into office of national chairman, national auditor and secretary.
The court, presided over by Justice Hussein Buba, also restrained INEC from monitoring the conduct of any election into the affected offices.
Plaintiffs in the case were listed as the incumbent chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; national secretary, Professor Olawale Oladipo, and the national auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adewale Adeyanju.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP were listed as the first and second defendants in the case with suit number FHC/L/CS/61 3/2016, and dated 6th of May, 2016.
The plaintiffs are asking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the second defendant from conducting any election into the offices of the positions in question pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They are also praying for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the first defendant/respondent from monitoring and /or recognising the conduct of any election by the second defendant/respondent into the offices in question.
However, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party shunned the court order, as it was resolved at the end of its meeting on Tuesday, May 17, in Abuja that the convention will hold as scheduled and elections will be into all the offices will be conducted.
In reaction to the development, INEC Deputy Director of Publicity and Voters’ Education, Nick Dazang, said the Commission will monitor the exercise but will restrain itself from elections into office of chairman, national secretary and auditor in compliance with the court order.
“Our position is that we shall obey the court order and that means, we won’t monitor or recognise any election into the offices affected by the court order,” Dazang said.
“The court order says elections into office of chairman, national secretary and national auditor shouldn’t hold.
“So, INEC won’t recognise any election into such offices. “We would monitor only offices exempted. Those affected won’t be monitored, neither will any elections into the offices be recognised.”
In response to the court order, Sheriff’s spokesman, Inua Bwala, said the order did not stop the convention but only barred election into some offices.
On whether elections will be conducted into the affected office, Bwala said “Everything is going on as planned.”
Meanwhile, another PDP faction, under the aegis of Concerned PDP Stakeholders, and led by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, will hold its own convention in Abuja on the same day.
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