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April polls: Kalu not disqualified – INEC chairman

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2007/03/13 | Views: 781 |

April polls: Kalu not disqualified – INEC chairman


Ahead of the release of the list of the cleared presidential candidates in next month’s elections, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has confirmed that Abia State governor and presidential candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, would be cleared by his commission.

Ahead of the release of the list of the cleared presidential candidates in next month’s elections, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has confirmed that Abia State governor and presidential candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, would be cleared by his commission.

The disclosure came at a time the INEC boss insists that the disqualification of former Anambra state governor and Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Chris Ngige and Anambra State governor and members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Peter Obi, was a constitutional matter and irreversible.

Prof. Iwu explained that INEC had never claimed to have power to disqualify any candidate, arguing that those who would be barred from contesting the elections were those who fall into the group specified by the constitution and the court of law.
Speaking on "Nigeria Today," a political programme of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Prof Iwu said that INEC did not take any action based on a list prepared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying the commission relied on the government white paper on the indicted candidates, which is constitutional.

According to him, the constitution has provided certain qualifications for those aspiring to lead at various levels and the ineligibility of those who fall short of the qualification, insisting that it is purely on the basis of this that some candidates were cleared and others disqualified.

Said he: "Any person indicted by a panel and the report of which has been published in government’s white paper, in line with the constitutional provision, is not eligible to contest. This is not an INEC policy but a constitutional matter and therefore, it will be wrong to say INEC disqualified such person."
On Governor Kalu, Prof Iwu maintained that it was true that the Abia State chief executive was indicted and his name published in the white paper but that the presidential candidate went to court and was granted an injunction restraining INEC from acting on the basis of the panel’s report or the white paper. He said the INEC was duly served the court’s order.

"We could not have gone ahead and refuse to clear him as a law abiding agency. We respect every court decision, we can’t knowingly be contemptuous of court. Governor Kalu served us the court order before the process of verification and clearance was completed. If he loses the substantive case at the end, it is another matter entirely," Iwu stressed.

On Dr. Ngige, Prof. Iwu maintained that the former governor was only crying wolf where there is none, as, according to him, Ngige was away during the process of verification and clearance, only to come back, after everything was over to make false claims.

"I think we have ego problems in this country. Dr. Ngige could have simply respected the system by coming around. He knows we don’t have the mechanism to verify claims overseas and he has the audacity to be making bogus claims to attract public sympathy," he said.

He also justified the inclusion of Dame Etiaba as cleared APGA candidate in the list, saying she was the one presented by the party and cleared before INEC was served the court order obtained by the Chief Chekwas Okorie faction.
"If there is a judgment and it is not communicated to us, we will just take notice of it, but if it’s a direct order to us, we will obey instantly, even if we are going to appeal the ruling," Prof. Iwu hinted.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown