There is no reprieve for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it has not reversed its decision that the party has no candidates in the impending general election in the state.
INEC’s declaration coincided with another decision Wednesday by the same Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt granting stay of execution on the judgment of the Federal High Court barring the commission from listing candidates of the APC in the state on the ballot in the coming general election.
This came as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed to INEC for extension of time by three days for collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs).
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt had on Monday ordered a stay of execution of the Federal High Court’s ruling, which barred the APC from fielding candidates in the forthcoming general election in Rivers State.
Following the appeal filed by the APC in the state for stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered by Justice Kolawole Omotosho, the appeal court granted one of its prayers: stay of execution of the judgment.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed Mustapha stated that all parties affected by Justice Omotosho’s judgment have appealed it, saying it would be unjust not to grant the application to stay execution of the ruling.
However, addressing journalists at an interactive session yesterday in Abuja, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said the electoral body had taken decisions on Rivers State APC.
According to him, “What the commission has done is that it has taken a position in relation to the issue of Rivers. If anything changes we will meet as a commission and also take a decision.
‘’But we have taken a decision relating to the issue of Rivers and if anything changes before we take our final decision, the commission will meet and also take a decision; but we have not taken any other decision and we have not repealed our position on the issue of Rivers.”
While commenting on the INEC office that was burnt in Abia State, Okoye said the commission expected Nigerians to be more outraged with what happened in the state.
He stressed that the commission would not be intimidated with the kind of “heartless act’’ rather it would be motivated to do what is right.
Also, the commission said that while it had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with transport unions for the movement of electoral materials on Election Day, it would not enter into agreement with any transport unions with leadership crisis.
The commission added that simultaneous accreditation and voting adopted by the commission and kicked against by opposition political parties, was meant for the Nigerian people, saying that they are happy about it.
He noted that with 73 political parties on the ballot, it was inoperative that the continuous accreditation and voting is adopted.
Okoye also revealed that different zonal stores, states and local government offices of the commission are presently taking deliveryº of non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is taking delivery of sensitive materials.