A huge moral and legal burden hangs over the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as it insists on proceeding with the controversial supplementary governorship election in Anambra State today.
Dr. Chris Ngige,the candidate of the All Progressive Party (APC), Ifeanyi Ubah of Labour Party (LP) and Comrade Tony Nwoye, Peoples Democratic party (PDP) have all opted out of the supplementary poll.
They are demanding outright cancellation of the November 16 election, which they said was characterised by fraud. But the candidate of APGA, Willie Obiano, has however endorsed the conduct of the election.
Ubah has already gone to court to challenge the legality of the supplementary election. He argues that Supplementary election is not known to the 1999 Constitution and has secured an order for accelerated hearing in the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
His counsel, Olagoke Fakunle (SAN), in a letter to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday drew the chairman’s attention to the “processes filed in that action” and for him to “respond to these processes not later than the 6th of December 2013.”
“You would have noticed that amongst the processes is a Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction restraining you from conducting any further election in Anambra State with regard to the office of the Governor of the State,until the court has had an opportunity to review the legality of your pre-election processes towards that election.
“It was for the reason of the urgency and importance of this action that the Federal High Court ,on 28th November 2013, made an order to abridge the time within which you and other Defendants may file your responses to both the application for injunction and the originating summons.The court also granted accelerated hearing of the matter by adjourning the hearing to 9th December, 2013.”
The court order and the pendency of both the motion and substantive suit, Fakunle said, “have activated the doctrine of lis pendens.”
“The doctrine of lis pendens precludes you from taking any steps in furtherance of your planned supplementary or other election in Anambra State with regard to the office of governor of the state until the Court has determined the application for injunction and the legality of your pre-election processes and the planned supplementary election itself.”
He asked for the postponement of today’s supplementary election to “avoid a situation whereby you would have foistered a fait accompli on the court and the court in response will therefore be constrained to void everything you have done including the outcome of the proposed supplementary election.”