The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again not listed any candidates for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) Rivers and Zamfara States for the state assembly and governorship elections scheduled for March 2.
The Commission, Friday listed all the candidates for the state elections, with no candidates of APC listed for the two states.
INEC position in the two states is apparently influenced by court orders on the controversial party primaries held by APC in the states.
In Rivers, a federal high court has ruled that the APC disobeyed a high court order on its congresses and so its primaries that produced its candidates were null and void. With the court ruling, INEC refused to recognise any APC candidate in Rivers. The commission, however, said it would wait to see if the appeal court would give a different ruling on the controversy.
The party in the state is divided into two factions: one loyal to Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport and former governor of the state and the other loyal to Senator Magnus Abe, a gubernatorial aspirant.
INEC had said it would not allow the APC field candidates in Zamfara because the party did not hold primaries within the stipulated time. Internal wrangling among leaders of the APC in Zamfara led to the inability to hold the primaries within the stipulated time.
Although the APC faction loyal to Governor Abdulaziz Yari claims it held congresses and has candidates, the faction loyal to a senator, Kabiru Marafa, has insisted no primaries held. The party headquarters also said no primaries held but said it adopted consensus candidates within the stipulated time.
Two separate courts in Abuja and Zamfara have also given conflicting judgements on INEC’s stance. While the court in Abuja said the commission acted right, that in Zamfara ruled that the APC did conduct primaries and INEC should ensure the party candidates are listed for the general elections. However, INEC has stated that it would abide by the judgement of the Abuja court.