Pre-election litigations and conflicting court orders after the primaries for the November 6 Anambra State governorship election is giving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worry; hence it has called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other stakeholders to wade in.
The Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, expressed the concerns yesterday at the implementation meeting of the Voter Education and Publicity Department for the Anambra poll held in Awka.
Noting that the development could disrupt the smooth conduct of the election, Okoye pleaded with the bar and the bench to intervene in the disturbing trend.
There has been a spate of ex parte orders secured by political gladiators ahead of the election.
According to Okoye, some of the orders have the tendency of eroding the powers of the commission and compromising its independence, powers and timelines for the conduct of the forthcoming election.
He also said that out of the over one million persons who registered online, over 700,000 were between 18 and 34 years of age. “This clearly tells us that youths are taking interest in politics.”
HOWEVER, the PDP candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, has said that his choice of Mrs. Azuka Enemo as running mate was based on his high regard for women and youths.
Fielding questions from newsmen yesterday in Awka, the governorship hopeful said he insisted on having a woman, an Anglican and a reliable person, who has electoral value, as his running mate.
While refuting the rumour that a certain godfather in the party imposed Enemo on him, Ozigbo maintained that he personally chose his deputy, adding that such decision remained his sole responsibility.
“Nobody imposed her on me. I was not comfortable with the party nomination of a deputy earlier, so I turned them down because there are certain criteria I insisted must be met. My running mate must be somebody I am comfortable to work with, (whom I) have considered her character and acceptability.
“The fact that I ran an election primary for two years in the state should have given me an idea of who my deputy would be, though I didn’t decide on that, even after the primary,” he said.
Ozigbo also denied believing in godfatherism. “I am an independent-minded person, who does not believe in godfatherism; not even Peter Obi, Tony Elumelu or any other individual in the party.”
He assured that his administration would focus on women and youth empowerment, aimed at improving lives of Anambra citizens.