The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday raised the alarm that conflicting orders from courts of concurrent jurisdiction, in respect of lists of candidates by political parties, could threaten the smooth conduct of next year’s general election.
National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who stated this in Enugu, urged the courts to be cautious in issuing ex parte orders while the political parties design means of solving their internal matters amicably without frustrating the Commission’s operations.
He maintained that one issue that bothers the electory body concerns multiple and contradictory orders emanating from the various courts of law, especially, arising from the party primaries.
“In some of the states, over the same subject matter, by the same parties; we have orders from three different High Courts in a particular state; orders from Federal High Court in a state, orders from the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, over the same subject and the same issue.
“Sometimes, these orders are contradictory.
“Some of the orders are saying the Commission should collect list of party primary election emanating from a political party; another order is saying ‘don’t collect,’ yet another is saying, ‘maintain the status quo.’
“We believe that this is not healthy for the Commission; it’s not healthy for the Judiciary, it’s not healthy for the Nigerian people and it will not advance Nigerian democracy.
“So, our plea is that our courts should be circumspect in granting ex parte applications; should also interrogate litigants to make sure that the same issues are not brought before courts of coordinate jurisdiction and they will then issue orders that are contradictory and orders that will give the Commission problems in obeying.
“We don’t want a situation where the Commission will be said to be disobeying court orders.
“It creates confusion for the Commission and the Commission does not want that type of confusion, especially at this particular period,” Okoye stated.