61 Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties Drag INEC to Court over Elec­tion Guide­lines


Udora Orizu in Abuja

The con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) Draft Guide­lines for the gen­eral elec­tion re­jected by 61 po­lit­i­cal par­ties few days ago has taken a new di­men­sion af­ter ma­jor­ity of chair­men of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties re­solved to head to court to­day to stop INEC from re­leas­ing the guide­line.

The suit, which will be filled at the Fed­eral High court, has four party chief­tains su­ing on be­half of the other 61 po­lit­i­cal par­ties against the guide­line.

The plain­tiffs in­clude Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere (APP), Dr. Sam Eke (GPN), Nsehe Nseobong (RPP) and Ken­neth Udeze (AAP).

They are seek­ing an ex­parte ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­junc­tion to re­strain the INEC Chair­man, Prof Mah­mood Yakubu, from pro­ceed­ing with the planned re­lease of the guide­line, which ma­jor­ity of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties have re­jected over non-con­sul­ta­tion, ob­nox­ious clauses and the vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion.

In a state­ment is­sued by Ugochinyere of APP, he said the chair­men were also ask­ing the court to quash some sec­tions of the draft guide­line, which were in con­flict with the pro­vi­sions of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion, in­clud­ing the ob­nox­ious pro­vi­sions in­serted into the guide­line, which will lead to mas­sive rig­ging of the elec­tions.

He said the party chair­men were in­sis­tent that in order to have a free and fair elec­tion, the ob­nox­ious clauses con­tained in the guide­line, which do not pro­mote free and fair elec­tions, must be ex­punged.

He also clar­i­fied that the INEC Chair­man must sum­mon an emer­gency meet­ing of the party chair­men to re­solve the grey ar­eas con­tained in the guide­lines and pre­vent the elec­tion from run­ning into a hitch and cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis be­fore the day of elec­tion.

“The par­ties still in­sist that the chair­man of INEC re­tains the 2011 and 2015 sep­a­rate ac­cred­i­ta­tion and sep­a­rate vot­ing sys­tem, which Nige­rian vot­ers are fully fa­mil­iar with and avoid cre­at­ing con­fu­sion and loop­hole for mas­sive tam­per­ing of re­sult with the con­tin­u­ous/same time ac­cred­i­ta­tion and vot­ing. INEC re­cently tried the method in few re-runs but that is not enough to ex­tend such vot­ing method to all parts of the coun­try few weeks to the elec­tion,” Ugochinyere de­clared.

He fur­ther said the party chair­men are cur­rently mo­bil­is­ing more party lead­ers to move against the INEC chair­man in the event that he goes ahead to is­sue out the guide­line with­out the in­put of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and with­out re­mov­ing the ob­nox­ious clauses which they be­lieve will avert a free and fair elec­tion.

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