The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is confused on whether to monitor or stay away from Wednesday’s (today) national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday had insisted that the PDP must stop its planned national convention. And gave a stern warning to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, not to monitor the convention.
The judge also ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to enforce the court’s order.
However, Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court, gave a contrary order, asking PDP to go ahead with the convention and directing the IGP to monitor it
Warning that the disobedience of court orders could cause anarchy, Justice Watila pointed out that the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP remained the executive authority in all matters concerning the party.
INEC is now in dilemma over which court ruling to obey. Although it was gathered that an INEC delegation had gone to Port Harcourt, based on Justice Watila’s ruling.
Punch quotes one of the national commissioners, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying:
“We have just been told that we should not be at the convention on the order of Justice Abang. Yet, another court in Port Harcourt said we must be there. These are same courts with same powers under the same President, because the Federal High Court in the country is headed by a President.
“Are these judges reading different laws or constitution? Can’t the President of the Federal High Court call his men to order?
“If we go to Port Harcourt for the convention, a judge will say we flouted his order and if we don’t go, another one will frown at our action.”
The Director, Publicity and Voters Education, INEC, Mr. Oluwole Osaze, however told the newspaper that the commission was waiting to be served with the order of Justice Abang before deciding on the next step to take.
“We are in dilemma over which order to obey for now. One order asks us to go, another says we should not. We are waiting to be served with the order of Justice Abang before knowing what to do.”