APC Disqualified From Cross River Council Polls
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State had on Tuesday raised alarm over the delay in the State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) in publishing the list of candidates for the upcoming September 21 local government elections in the state.
Chairman of the party, Mr. John Okon, said CROSIEC’s failure to publish the list of screened candidates is amounting to trying to shift the goalpost in the middle of the game.
But the Chairman of CROSIEC, Sir Patrick Otu, on Friday, said there was no shifting of goal post during a meeting held at the Commission’s office in Calabar with all registered political parties in the state, as part of preparations for the local government election.
He said his commission took the decision to disqualify APC after considering all legal implications, and in order not to run foul of the law.
The electoral law, he noted, stipulates that “if parties merge, that party can only stand election after 90 days.”
In this regard, he said, “The Commission cannot postpone the election because of a newly registered party. By September 21, when the local government elections will take place, the stipulated 90 days period would not have been met by APC in the state. Therefore, no candidate can be fielded to run on the platform of APC.
“Everything about election is law and nothing can be done outside the law. The former parties that merged to form APC are, by law, dead. What emerged will have to pay the price as no law covers what you were before the merger. By law, APC is disqualified from fielding candidates for both the chairmanship and the councillorship positions in the forthcoming elections.”
Mr. Ayei Akpang, who claimed to be representing the State Chairman of the defunct ACN, appealed for an extension of time but the CROSIEC boss noted that there are lawful conditions for postponing or extending time of election, which does not include registration of a new political party.
He said, “There is no state of emergency in the state that would warrant an extension of time. When in 2004 we had a state of emergency because of the political situation, it was understood. Election time-table is very important, especially to any election management body.”
The meeting was attended by representatives of the ruling PDP, representatives of PPA, NCN and the defunct ACN, CPC and ANPP represented ACP.
It was also gathered that PDP is the only party that has fielded candidates for all seats to be contested while PPA has some candidates.
Most likely, it might just be two political parties that will contest the September 21 Council polls.
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