Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has restored the name of Mr Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the March 11, 2023, general election.
The Commission in amendment number three to the final list of candidates for the election issued on Monday 30th January cited court orders for the restoration of Mr Odii’s name.
Ikengaonline had previously reported how INEC in its amendment number two issued on December 22, 2022 delisted the name of Mr Odii and his Deputy Governorship Candidate, Senator Igwe Nwagu, from the list of candidates also citing court order.
In that second amendment in December, INEC had also named one Henry Chima Udeh as the Ebonyi South Senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, also citing court order.
It also delisted the names of all National Assembly candidates of the PDP for all the constituencies in the state except one.
However, in the third amendment released yesterday (Monday) and signed by its Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the electoral umpire named Mr Linus Okorie, a former Member of the House of Representatives as the Senatorial candidate of the Labour Party for Ebonyi South zone.
INEC in the third amendment also listed one Mr Irem Ibom Oka, a former Member, House of Representatives, as candidate of the party for Afikpo North/South Federal constituency.
The name of the present occupant of the seat, Mr Iduma Igariwey, was listed as the candidate of the party in the original list released on September 20, 2022.
INEC also listed the name of the Member Representing Ezza North/Ishielu Constituency, Anayo Edwin, as the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate for the constituency in place of Mr Joseph Nwobashi who was listed in amendment number one as the party’s candidate for the constituency.
The Commission in an explanatory statement accompanying the list said the third amendment became necessary due to various court orders it was served.
INEC also explained that some amendments became necessary to correct errors made by Political Parties while uploading the names of their candidates on its portal.
The statement read: “The Commission published the final list of candidates for Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections on 20th September, 2022 and Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections on 4” October, 2022 in accordance with the provisions of Section 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Elections.
“After the said publication, the Commission was served Orders of Court in respect of the nomination of candidates for Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly Elections.
“It is worthy of note that the list of candidates was amended in Amendment Nos. 1 & 2 published on the Commission’s website on 10th November and 22nd December 2022, pursuant to Court Orders and Deaths.
“By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Commission is bound to enforce the Orders of Court on the Nomination of candidates by Political Parties in the affected Constituencies.
“Whereas the Commission published the details of Candidates as submitted by political parties on the INEC Candidates Nomination Portal (ICNP), some political parties forwarded complaints seeking correction of error made in the details of their candidates.
“Consequent upon the above, the lists of candidates in respect of the attached Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections are amended and published as Amendment No. 3 pursuant to the Orders of Court served on the Commission as at 30th January, 2023, Deaths and requests for correction of candidates’ details by political parties,” the statement said.
The PDP in Ebonyi has been embroiled in crisis following its primaries of last year.
Two parallel primaries had produced two different governorship candidates of the party in the state – Mr Odii and Obinna Ọgba.
Similar situations occurred in the party primaries for the National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections.
The crises in the party resulted in various court cases.
There was also the battle for the state chairman of the PDP between Silas Ọnụ and Tochukwu Okorie.