The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), cannot for any reason stop the Anambra Central rerun election it has fixed for January 13, 2018, so says former National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh.
Umeh who is APGA’s candidate for the rerun contest, made the remark in an interview against the backdrop of a Federal High Court judgement, delivered by Justice John Tsoho in Abuja, directing the electoral body to issue a certificate of return to Obiora Okonkwo as the validly elected Senator for Anambra Central Senatorial District.
Justice Tsoho gave the directive in a pre-election matter where Okonkwo had sought to be declared the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the March 28, 2015 Anambra Central senatorial election.
The high court order came about three weeks after the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had instructed INEC to within 90 days conduct the Anambra Central rerun with the exclusion of PDP as directed by its Enugu Division which quashed Uche Ekwunife’s election on December 7, 2015.
The APGA standard bearer, however, said he was confident that INEC as a responsible institution of government will not obey a high court ruling against a subsisting Appeal Court verdict on the Anambra Central rerun issue.
“INEC would take a decision based on the superior judgement on record on the matter. INEC has no right to choose a high court order against a Court of Appeal order that is subsisting.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provided for hierarchy of courts – Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.
And when Court of Appeal renders a decision, all the authorities and persons and all courts of subordinate jurisdiction will abide by it.
“INEC cannot choose between Court of Appeal order and high court order. Two of them don’t have the same level of authority in our jurisprudence.
A high court is a high court. The decision of the Court of Appeal comes before that of high courts,” Umeh argued.