The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said no new candidate would be allowed to participate in the March 5 Anambra Central senatorial re-run election.
That guideline has effectively barred the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress from participating in the poll.
The Resident Electoral Commission in Anambra, Lawrence Azubuike, unveiled INEC ‘s position on the matter in a statement Monday.
The statement read: “Following the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division judgment on Dec. 7 2015, the re-run election would be held in the zone on March 5.
“Pursuant to the said judgment, only political parties and candidates that participated in March 28, 2015 senatorial election in Anambra central Senatorial District will participate in the re-run election.’
INEC had returned Uche Ekwunife, then of the PDP, winner of the March 28 election. But shortly after the Court of Appeal sent her packing from the Senate, Mrs. Ekwunife decamped to the APC.
Mrs. Ekwunife’s move was believed to be a calculated step to take the advantage of the fact that APC original candidate, Chris Ngige, had become Minister.
But Mrs. Ekwunife failed to clinch APC ticket, losing to Sharon Ikeazor.
Yet, with her victory, Mrs. Ikeazor is not eligible for the election, INEC’s new regulation said, just as Mrs. Ekwunife’s defection has denied the opportunity of participating in the election.
With APC and PDP out of the race by reason of Mrs. Ekwunife’s defection and Mr. Ngige’s ministerial appointment, it appears to have become an easy ride to victory for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, and its candidate, Victor Umeh.
But the APC told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that it was not aware of INEC’s regulation barring Mrs. Ikeazor from the election.
The party’s media officer, Odemwingie Edegbe, quoting a statement by the National Secretary, Mala Buni, said “Sharon Ikeazor is still in the race for Anambra Central Senatorial seat.”