Court ruling won’t affect election timetable –INEC
By IHEANACHO NWOSU, Abuja and CHIDI OBINECH, Lagos
Saturday January 28, 2012
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has said the Supreme Court ruling declaring the continued stay in office of governors of Adamawa, Cross River, Kogi, Sokoto and Bayelsa illegal will not affect election time table set for the states.
The apex court had yesterday ended the long drawn legal battle over the tenure of the five governors: Ibrahim Idris(Kogi) Timpre Sylva(Bayelsa) Murtala Nyako(Adamawa) Liyel Imoke(Cross River) and Aliyu Wamakko(Sokoto) by declaring that the governors tenure had elapsed.
The matter was taken to Supreme Court by INEC following the Appeal Court ruling last year that the tenure of the governors whose elections were earlier quashed commenced the day they were sworn in the fresh elections they won.
On December 3, 2011, INEC conducted governorship election in Kogi. It will hold similar election in Adamawa on February 4, Bayelsa February 11, Sokoto and Cross River in March.
Speaking to Saturday Sun on the judgment and the position of the electoral body, Chief Press Secretary to INEC, Chairman Kayode Idowu, said the commission would stick to the election timetable for the states concerned.
He stressed that any alteration on the timetable will engender confusion in the system. He said: “I don’t see INEC changing the election dates in the states concerned. It is not possible to bring the elections backward. Don’t forget that we have conducted the Kogi election and it was done based on what was on ground.”
He said the judgment has deepened democracy in the country, but reiterated that it will be handled by the commission in a way that it would not affect the operations of INEC.
“We are okay with the Supreme Court ruling, but will go ahead with the timetable”, he said stressing that INEC was committed to a free and fair election and will not change its plans in the middle of the road.