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No court can stop April elections – Iwu

Posted by By ERIC OSAGIE, Abuja on 2007/03/26 | Views: 1314 |

No court can stop April elections – Iwu


Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, says no court can stop next month’s elections, just as he revealed that Vice President Abubakar Atiku, the embattled presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC), whose name was dropped from the list of candidates for the April 21, 2007 presidential election, will only be allowed to run if the Supreme Court so rules.

Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, says no court can stop next month’s elections, just as he revealed that Vice President Abubakar Atiku, the embattled presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC), whose name was dropped from the list of candidates for the April 21, 2007 presidential election, will only be allowed to run if the Supreme Court so rules.

Iwu told Daily Sun at the weekend that if the apex court orders the inclusion of Atiku as a candidate in the elections, the electoral agency would have no option than to abide by the ruling. He said that the INEC had made preparation for such eventuality.

His words: “Yes, he (Atiku) will run if the Supreme Court says so. This is where the logistics issue actually comes in. We must have our own fallback preparation. I am not the type that makes plan without having plan A, B, and C. If the Supreme Court decides that, we will obey the Supreme Court.”

On what INEC would do if judgment were delivered a day before the polls, Iwu said: “When we get there, we will know what to do. We have to be adaptive enough to cope with all situations. With the kind of job I do, you just have to be ready for any eventualities.”

The INEC chairman debunked the view that he and the commission were being teleguided by the Presidency.
Said he: “It has never happened, and I don’t think it will happen. I don’t like bringing individuals into the picture that much. For us, we are dealing with candidates and we treat them as such. And within the political party structure, if you say AC, for instance, we did everything we could to make sure we encourage all the political parties to fall within the ambit of the law, but there is no order stopping anyone, anywhere from contesting.

Even when we had the White Paper, for example, we accepted the injunction served on us by Gov. Orji Kalu. We did that, but there was no court order on the presidential candidate of the AC. There was no such order. It is now that they are in court. They could have done that earlier. This is the whole thing we are trying to tell the world.

“The other issue with AC is that when we made a case that the issue was not the way it was reported, they contested it for a while, but they have now gone back to appeal against that judgment. Why are they appealing? They are in court now, but it was kept low by the media.
“Nobody is hearing about the records and grounds of the appeal. We have the records and grounds of the appeal. They appealed against the entire judgment,” Iwu said.

On the case of Dr. Chris Ngige, the sacked governor of Anambra State and disqualified gubernatorial flag bearer of AC, Iwu reiterated his position that Ngige couldn’t have been a candidate for the election because he was not available for INEC screening, even as he vehemently debunked the notion that he was playing a script to clear the road for former presidential aide, Dr. Andy Uba.

“On Ngige’s case, sometimes Nigerians trivialise serious issues. Ngige was not here in Nigeria during nomination process. If you are saying that he is bigger than the system, that is your decision,” he said.
He said that no force could stop the INEC from conducting next month’s elections.
“We will go ahead with the polls. No court can stop us. In 2003, NDP also approached the court to stop the election, we went ahead, just as they are doing now.”
• Watch out for the full interview on Saturday.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.