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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its earlier position that it was absent from re-run primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party in Aboh Mbaise-Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency, Imo state.
The Public Relations Officer of INEC, Imo state, Dr. Chinenye Osuji disclosed this during a media briefing in Owerri, the state capital, on Monday.
‘Any political party that decides to conduct its primaries in the absence of INEC is an effort in futility. INEC has to be present to monitor the exercise,’ Osuji said.
A Federal High Court in Owerri sacked Albert Agulanna, who emerged as the PDP candidate in the 2023 House of Representatives election, seeking to represent the constituency.
The court ordered that a fresh primary be held in the federal constituency within the next 14 days.
Meanwhile, Appeal Court Tuesday struck out Agulanna’s application seeking to set aside order restraining INEC and the PDP from conducting rerun primary in the constituency.
A lawyer to INEC said the court’s action may prevent the party from fielding a candidate in February 25 general elections.
However, Osuji said the commission did not monitor any re-run primaries as ordered by the Court.
‘If PDP decides to conduct the re-run primaries for Aboh Mbaise-Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency without INEC’s involvement, they know what they have done. So, it’s not for us to say,’ Osuji told journalists.
‘The head of the Election and Political Parties Monitoring (EPM) department has said that there was no directive from the headquarters to observe the exercise. Maybe PDP didn’t write the Commission in good time for whatever reason, I can’t really say. You can reach the EPM for further clarifications on the subject matter.