As the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) prepares for its planned national convention slated for Saturday, May 21, in Port Harcourt, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it would not recognise any election that produces Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman of the party.
The electoral commission said any election into the position of national chairman, national auditor and secretary would be invalid, Premium Times reports.
This was contained in a letter sent to Sheriff on Thursday, May 19.
Recall that Ibrahim Buba, a judge of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, in a restraining order, asked the party not to conduct elections into three key offices and also restrained INEC from monitoring and or recognizing the conduct of any election into the affected offices pending the hearing and determination of a substantive suit on it.
The order restraining the party from conducting elections was said to be in respect of a suit brought before the court by Sheriff, the national secretary of the party, Prof. Olawale Oladipo and the national auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adewale Adeyanju.
Nick Dazang, a spokesperson for the commission said: “INEC will not monitor elections of national chairman, national secretary and national auditor because of court order and we have written the national chairman of the party. INEC as law abiding organization will comply with the court order.
“Of course, we will monitor the convention. We have a monitoring team led by a national commissioner. Elections into all the offices will be monitored except those three named offices of the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor.”
INEC also said it was not aware of any parallel convention being planned for same day in Abuja by the Concerned PDP stakeholders, led by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana.
In an interview with NAN, the commission’s director of voter education and publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said there was only one PDP known to INEC, which had conducted congresses at all levels.
“There is only one convention known to the laws and regulations of INEC for which we were given appropriate notice and that is the one in Port Harcourt,” he said.
However, Inuwa Bwala, Sheriff’s media aide said he was not aware of any court order as he did not authorize anyone to go to court on his behalf and that the convention would proceed as planned.
Recall that some PDP chieftains had threatened to dump party should Sheriff be allowed to continue as chairman of the party to the detriment of the south west.
The loyalists of Sheriff, the national chairman, will be holding its convention in Port Harcourt, while the other faction, led by Gana, will be holding theirs in Abuja.
The two factions met simultaneously in Abuja on Tuesday, May 17 to finalise plans for their separate conventions.