The Independent National Electoral Commission has been thrown into confusion on whether to monitor or stay away from the Peoples Democratic Party national convention on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This was following a ruling by Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday that the PDP must stop its planned national convention.
Justice Abang had warned the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, not to monitor the convention, while ordering 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 on Monday, had asked INEC to monitor the convention and also directed the IGP to provide security.
According to The Punch, one of INEC’s national commissioners, said that the two judgments had put the commission in a state of confusion.
He said, “ 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, Oluwole Osaze, also said the commission was waiting to be served with the order of Justice Abang before deciding on the next step to take.
He said, “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.”
A deputy director in the same department, Nick Danzang, revealed that officials of the commission were on standby in Port Harcourt.
He said, “Although the commission has been served the Port Harcourt court judgment, it has yet to be served the Abuja court judgment by Justice Abang.
“In the meantime, our monitoring workers are on standby.”