The Independent National Electoral Commission has removed the name of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in Imo state, Albert Agulanna, from the list of House of Representatives candidates in the February 25 election.
Agulanna is the sacked PDP candidate seeking to represent Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency of the state in the House of Representatives.
The withdrawal of his name followed an order of the Appeal Court in January.
A check on the INEC website by our correspondent on Wednesday reveals that the electoral body did not include any name as a candidate of the party.
The electoral commission added “court order” as part of the reasons for the withdrawal.
The PUNCH reported in January that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja sacked the federal constituency candidate of the PDP in the state, Agulanna.
The court, in its ruling, also ordered that a fresh primary be held in the constituency within 14 days.
However, the Appeal Court in Owerri barred the INEC and the PDP from going on to conduct a rerun primary election of the PDP for the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency of the state.
The PUNCH reports that the INEC had said it did not monitor the re-run primaries of the PDP in the federal constituency of the state.
The Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, Dr Chinenye Osuji, disclosed the absence of the commission last Monday, while addressing journalists in Owerri.
Osuji said, “Any political party that decides to conduct its primaries in the absence of INEC is an effort in futility. INEC has to be present to monitor the exercise.
“If PDP decides to conduct the re-run primaries for Aboh Mbaise-Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency without INEC’s involvement, they know what they have done. So, it’s not for us to say.”
Meanwhile, Agulanna has challenged the appellate court’s decision in the Supreme Court.
The apex court, on Tuesday, resumed hearing on the suit and after adopting processes, adjourned the case till March 3 for ruling.
But, the PDP in the state has reiterated that the recognised candidate of the party for the federal constituency is Agulanna.
The spokesperson of the party, Collins Opuruzor, disclosed this to our correspondent on Wednesday.
He said the party is ready to go into the election and urged the people of the constituency to vote for the party.
“As a party, we are going into the election with Agulanna as the popularly elected candidate of the party. That is the position of the party. The Supreme Court has not given judgement. The judgement was reserved till March 3,” he said.
Reacting to the current list of candidates by INEC, Opuruzor noted that with time, the commission will update all that is necessary as the Supreme Court adjournment came in two days ago.
He said, “INEC is not the problem here. It was only two days ago that the Supreme Court reserved judgement. INEC is human. It will take time to update all of those things.
“We are confident in the ability of the judiciary to get justice and we are going into the election with our candidate. Agulanna remains the candidate of the party.
“The people will come out and vote for our candidate and after that, the judgement will be held.”