The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has feigned ignorance of the withdrawal of the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige, from the Anambra central senatorial election re-run.
The new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the commission, Dr. Lawrence Azubuike, made the commission’s position known yesterday while meeting with political parties and stakeholders in the state at the INEC headquarters in Awka.
Ngige, who is now Minister of Labour and Employment, had withdrawn from the race saying his ministerial appointment was of more importance than the senatorial race re-run.
However, the state secretary of the APC in Anambra state, Mr. Chukwuma Agupugo reminded INEC of the letter to that effect by the Minister, which was submitted by the party to the commission as required by the electoral act.
But Azubuike maintained that he would go into the records of INEC to find out the truth of the matter as he just resumed in the state.
According to him “we are not aware that anybody has withdrawn, we have not received any statement to that effect, this election is a re-run not a bye- election.
“What the electron means is essentially, going back to March 28, 2015, INEC will use that same method in conducting the election and we are going to await for further directive from the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.”
“The political parties and the candidates for the re-run election are not in doubt, only the candidates and parties who participated in that election will participate now, excluding the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) because of the court judgment”, he said.
Fourteen parties took part in the last National Assembly election on March 28, 2015 which means that only 13 parties would take part in the re-run following the disqualification of PDP.
But INEC was yet to decide whether APC would be allowed to present a fresh candidate, if it is eventually established that Ngige had declined to contest.