A former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, has described his expulsion from the People’s Democratic Party as a ruse, saying he has been cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission to contest the National Assembly election earlier rescheduled for Saturday in the Enugu East Senatorial District.
Nnamani also assured his constituents that his candidature for the election was irrevocable, saying his people were with him and had fully endorsed him.
This was contained in a letter written by his lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, SAN, to the Chairman of INEC, Mahmoud Yakubu.
INEC had announced the postponement of the conduct of senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial District following the death of the Labour Party’s senatorial candidate, Oyibo Chukwu.
Chukwu was killed and set ablaze at Amechi Awkunanaw in the Enugu South Local Government Area the week of the election by gunmen who opened fire on his convoy.
In the letter to INEC chairman, Nnamani’s lawyer said, “The PDP National Working Committee cannot unilaterally remove him (Nnamani) from the contest because his purported expulsion is already the subject of litigation pending before the Federal High Court in suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/163/2023, seeking to set aside his expulsion from the party.
“It is also important for the commission to note and be well guided that by the virtue of Section 33 of the Electoral Act, a political party cannot, on its own, arbitrarily remove or change its candidate whose name has been submitted and published by the commission for an election, except in the event of death or withdrawal by the candidate.”
The PDP had expelled the former Enugu State Governor, the son of the former Ekiti State governor, John Fayose, and others from the party, which took effect on Friday, February 10, 2023.
According to the party, the expulsion was a decision of the NWC following the recommendation of the National Disciplinary Committee and pursuant to Sections 58 and 59 (1)(g) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).
Tarfa maintained that people should trust that the commission will be properly advised by the terms of their letter in taking a position that fosters the rule of law among the parties herein and especially not undermine the powers and authority of the court.
Yakubu was quoted to have partly said, “We have already communicated this decision to our Enugu State office. Therefore, there will be no senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial District made up of six Local Government Areas, 77 Wards and 1,630 Polling Units.
“The election will now be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding in the next two weeks on March 11, 2023. Materials already delivered for the senatorial election will remain in the custody of the Central Bank in the State until the new date for election.”
INEC had on Wednesday postponed the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled to hold on March 11 by one week.
The elections will now be held on March 18, 2023.
This was made known in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye on Wednesday.
The decision was reached after a meeting with the INEC chairman and his team.
The postponement is coming about three days before the March 11 date earlier scheduled for the state elections.
Consequently, all activities pertaining to the exercise are rescheduled, especially the state’s inspection of sensitive materials at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
INEC’s decision was due to the commission’s inability to earnestly commence reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines utilised during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections to enable their use in the state elections.