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Keyamo Raises Alert Over Illegal Substitutions Of PDP Candidates In Anambra, Petitions INEC

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the illegal substitutions of names vying for electoral positions under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.

In the petition addressed to the INEC Chairman, Athahiru Jega, Keyamo said he stands as solicitors to Okonwko Annie Clement, Benedict O. Obaze and all the nominated Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates for the Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Elections in Anambra State who emerged from the INEC supervised primaries conducted by the Ejike Oguebego led Executive of the PDP in Anambra State.

“Our clients’ names were published by INEC as the authentic candidates of the PDP at the close of nomination by political parties on the 13th and 27th of January, 2015 having emerged as the winners from the congresses and primaries conducted through the Ejike Oguebego led Exco of the PDP in Anambra State for the 2015 National and State House of Assembly Elections.

“It must be noted that the primaries that produced our clients were the only ones that were held by INEC in Anambra State as provided in the PDP 2015 Electoral guidelines and the Electoral Act. It is also worthy of note that the congress which produced the Ejike Oguebego led State Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra State was equally held under the supervision of INEC in March, 2012,” he explained.

Keyamo said it is beyond dispute that the aforementioned congress and primaries that produced his clients were held with the blessings of INEC, saying this much was stated by INEC itself in three letters and a press release.

“The first letter dated 26th July 2013, the second dated 23rdOctober, 2014, were both written to the PDP National Chairman, the third also dated 23rd October, 2014 was written by INEC  to Taiwo Abe & Co. and finally a press release in August, 2013,” he added.

He drew INEC’s attention to the fact that the Commission and the PDP were expressly mandated by an Order of the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt Division in its ruling of 12thSeptember, 2013, in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/213/13 between Ejike Oguebego & 2 Ors vs. PDP & 3 Orsto recognize and deal with the Ejike Oguebego led State Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra State in all election matters in Anambra State pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

“This Order of Court which is binding on INEC and the PDP is still subsisting, remain extant and in force till date. In compliance with the above Order, your Commission on the 1st of November, 2014 monitored the congress that led to the emergence of the three man ward delegates that participated in the primary elections that produced the candidates of the PDP in Anambra State for the 2015 General Election. Attached are your Commission’s reports on the said congress for ease of reference.

“Although there has been a plethora of cases in court regarding this matter, none has upturned or reversed the aforestated Order of the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt Division. As a matter of fact, it was also in obedience to this Order of court that INEC published the names of our clients as the validly nominated candidates of the PDP in Anambra State for the 2015 National and House of Assemblies Election.

“While your Commission can be said to have initially obeyed the Order, the same cannot be said of the PDP. Thus in total defiance of the subsisting Orders of the Honourable court in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/213/13 between Ejike Oguebego & 2 Ors vs. PDP & 3 Ors,the National PDP proceeded to set up a purported Caretaker Committee to oversee the affairs of the party in Anambra State towards the 2015 General Elections. Two Court Judgments in Suit Nos. FHC/ABJ/CS/680/2014 between Ken Emeakayi vs. PDP & 6Ors delivered on the 27th of November, 2014 and FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014 between Ejike Oguebego & another vs. PDP & another delivered on the 5thDecember, 2014 promptly nullified this,” he stated further.

He asked further, “on what basis did INEC substitute our clients’ names with those listed on their website? Information available to us suggests that some of your officers, including Mr. Ibrahim K. Bawa who signed the new list of candidates dated 9th February, 2015, have erroneously placed reliance on the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on the 6th of February, 2015 in Appeal No: CA/A/737/2014 between PDP Vs. Ejike Oguebego & 3 Ors and CA/A/737A/2014. We make bold to say that the aforestated judgments of the Court of Appeal cannot be relied upon to substitute our clients’ names.”

He said nowhere in the judgment did the Court of Appeal directed INEC to accept the result of the primaries conducted by the Caretaker Committee or to replace our clients’ names with the ones emerging from any other Primary.

Keyamo noted that the only subsisting positive order on the emergence of candidates of the PDP for Anambra State remains that of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/213/2013 and INEC is under obligation as a law abiding establishment to abide by that order.

“Based on the reasons proffered above, we respectfully make bold to say that the substitution of the names of our clients based on the Court of Appeal decision is most unconstitutional, illegal and a direct affront to the subsisting order of the Federal high Court, Port Harcourt. In fact, the action of INEC in replacing the names of our client with the other names is contemptuous of the subsisting Order of the Court,” he added.

Keyamo  alled on INEC to reverse the substitution of his clients’ names by returning to the status quo ante bellum ordered by the Court and restoring his clients’ names as the nominated candidates of the PDP to INEC’s approved lists of candidates for the 2015 election in Anambra State.


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