Law News
Obey court order on LG poll, PDP tells RSIEC

The Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has cautioned the State Independent Electoral Commission to obey court order and shun any temptation that will make it (RSIEC) go ahead with the planned local government elections in the state.

RISIEC had fixed May 23, 2015 for the state council elections, a development that did not go down well with the state PDP, which went to court to stop the conduct of the polls.

A Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, had adjourned till further notice a matter brought before it by the PDP seeking to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission from releasing Voters Register to the RSIEC and the Rivers State Government for the conduct of the council elections in the state.

The State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Felix Obuah, advised the commission on Sunday that any attempt to proceed with the planned council election, which has been scheduled for May 23, 2015, would amount to an open disrespect for the court that had directed that the status quo-ante be maintained.

Obuah, who spoke in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media, Mr. Jerry Needam, explained that anything done to conduct the election against the decision of the court would be a nullity.

“Members of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) are card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress, and do not have the moral standing to conduct the election.

“The composition of RSIEC negates the principle of natural justice. RSIEC should abide by the rule of ‘nemo iudex in causa sua’ which literally means that no person can judge a case in which he has vested interest,” Obuah said.

The state PDP chairman queried the rationale in conducting an election that brazenly breaches the provisions of the law.

He described the plan to hold the council elections without recourse to the law as a ‘deliberate’ ploy by the APC-led-government of Rotimi Amaechi and RSIEC to loot the state’s treasury.

The PDP said, “This deliberate disregard for the rule of law has vindicated the PDP’s position that Amaechi and the APC are desperados bent on causing crisis in the state.

It urged member of the PDP and the people of Rivers State to remain calm, noting that the illegal local government election would not stand.

Reacting to PDP’s position, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, dismissed the party’s claim that the conduct of the  council election was an avenue for Amaechi and RSIEC to loot the state treasury.

Okocha described PDP statement on the planned conduct of the local government elections as unfunded, adding that the party was only afraid that the irregularities in the 2015 general elections in the state would be exposed with the council polls.

“There is no correlation between stealing and the conduct of election. Amaechi is not the one conducting the council elections. The argument is that RSIEC is acting within the ambit of the law.

“What the PDP is afraid of is that since RSIEC is not under their control, they cannot do anything that would justify the falsification of figures during the presidential and governorship elections in Rivers,” Okocha said.

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