Oguta Re-Run Poll Suffers Setback

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has
attributed its inability to conduct a re-run election in Oguta   Constituency
in Imo State to three pending court cases on the election.

Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu, in
Abuja last Tuesday said that two contestants from two different political
parties had gone to court to seek different reliefs on the contest.

He said that the election into the Imo State House of
Assembly for Oguta constituency was conducted on April 26, 2011 in seven wards
because of violence in four wards.

“Elections could not hold on April 26, 2011, and May 6,
2011, in Uwaorie, Mgbala/Uba, Obudi/Aro and Ndi Ulokwu/Umuowerre but it was
held in Egwe/Egbuoma, Oru, Ossemotor/Enigbo, Awa and Izombe.

He said “Section 73 and 74 of the Electoral Act provide that
when the results are collated, if the difference between the first person and
the runner-up surpasses the number of voters in the wards where elections are
not held, then a re-run can be made.

“For example, if the first person gets 120,000 and the
second person gets 118,000 and the number of voters in wards where election is
not held is 1,500, then the re-run cannot be made.

“In other words, theoretically, if the 1,500 voters were to
vote for the second person, he would not catch up with the first person,” Idowu
said.

He said another election was rescheduled for the wards for
May 6, 2011 but it could not hold as a result of violence.

Idowu said one of the parties went to court asking that INEC
should be compelled to declare the PDP candidate in the election as the winner.

He said on April 20, 2011, there was another letter on
notice served INEC, seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining INEC from
conducting any election in the constituency pending the hearing of the
substantive suite.

Idowu said the commission was served another notice on April
12, 2011 for standing on the position of the law “that since the number of
voters exceeds the number of the difference, a re-run cannot be made. The PDP
appealed against the stand.

There was another suit by APGA at the Federal High Court
seeking an order to compel INEC to conduct election in all the 11 wards.

“Till cases were disposed of, INEC would not conduct any
election in Oguta Constituency in order to guard against contempt of court,”
Idowu said .