The Independent National Electoral Commission said the All Progressives Congress in Rivers state would not field any candidates during the 2019 general elections.
The commission made this statement on Wednesday, February 6, 2019; days after the appeal court’s judgment.
The court stalled the execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court nullifying all primaries of APC in the state and restrained INEC from fielding candidates at the poll.
Recall that an Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt, led by Justice Ali Gumel granted a stay of execution on the judgement of Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court which nullified all the party primaries.
Thus, the party expected the commission to restore the names of its candidates removed as a result of the internal crisis in the party.
However, during an interactive session with Barrister Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity, he said that the commission had taken a position with regards to court rulings and will not field any candidate from APC at the moment.
He noted that the position of the commission has not changed in respect of Rivers for the National Assembly and governorship elections.
He, however, stressed that if there was a change in the situation of things, the commission will meet to review its stand.
He said; “We have taken a decision relating to the issue of Rivers and if anything changes before we take our final decision, the commission will meet and also take a decision. But we have not taken any other decision and we have not repealed our position on the issue of Rivers.”
He added; “The sensitive materials and other non-sensitive materials, sleeping mats, Dunlops and so on. Some of these ones have gone to the various local governments. The generating sets that would be used in the various registration areas have also been delivered to them. The generating sets that will be used at the local governments have been delivered to them and then touch lights that will be used by the presiding officers on election day have also been delivered to the various local governments.
“Based on that, we have asked the resident electoral commissioners to beef up security at the various local government offices because some of these offices have started receiving the non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections.
“Secondly, the Central Bank of Nigeria in the various states have started receiving sensitive materials for the conduct of these elections. These sensitive materials include ballot papers and result sheets. Elections are just some few days away and if we have not started receiving the sensitive materials into the vault of the Central Bank, that means we are not a serious
“So, these materials are being delivered on daily basis to the various Central Bank branches in the various states of the federation. So, we are gradually getting ready for the conduct of the elections.”