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INEC Can’t Disqualify Candidates, Says Court

INEC Can’t Disqualify Candidates, Says Court 79ccc373 court 696x521 300x225

Justice Folashade Ogunbiyi-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wrong to have excluded the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.
Governorship candidate of the SDP, Natasha Akpoti, his Deputy, Adams Khalid and their party, SDP had dragged the electoral body before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to challenge their exclusion from the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.
The commission had in a letter through its chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, written the SDP to inform the party that it has no lawful candidate in the forthcoming governorship poll in Kogi State.
In the letter, the electoral umpire claimed that its decision to exclude the SDP from the Kogi governorship poll was hinged on the non- qualification of its earlier deputy governor-nominee, Mohammed Yakubu, who was said to be under 35 years.
The commission also declined to accept Yakubu’s substitution by the SDP on the grounds that Yakubu’s nomination was invalid.
Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa, held that INEC had no power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it is the exclusive reserve of a competent court of law.
According to the judge, the provisions of sections 31(1) and 83 of the Electoral Act, which holds that INEC cannot disqualify or reject candidate nominated by a political party for an election as well as refuse to affix the logo of a party contesting election, was aimed at ensuring that it does not lie within the executive realms of INEC to determine who participates in an election, adding that the intention of the law is to make INEC a truly unbiased umpire.
The judge held that Section 31 (1) of the Electoral Act specifically stated that INEC shall not for any reason whatsoever disqualify any candidate sponsored by a political party for an election.
She further held that Paragraph 15 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, which defines the powers of the commission, did not include determining the validity or qualification of candidate submitted to it by a political party even if the candidate is not qualified.
The judge said at best the commission being a legal entity could have approached a court of law to disqualify such candidate deemed not qualified to contest an election.
“The defendant cannot arrogate to himself the powers of the court or constitute himself as a quasi- court to disqualify candidate.”
Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa, while noting that the grounds on which a candidate can be substituted in an election is either as a result of death or voluntary withdrawal, held that the defendant did not show anything before the court to the extent that Yakubu’s withdrawal was not made voluntarily.
She also held that both the nomination and substitution of candidate by the SDP in the Kogi governorship election slated for November 16 were done within the time frame as required by INEC guidelines for the election.
According to her, the SDP submitted its list of nominated candidates on September 6, three days to the September 9 deadlines for submission and made its substitution on September 20, three days to the deadline for substitution.
While aligning with the position of the plaintiffs that INEC had no power to disqualify them for the election or even reject the substitution, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa said: “It is worrisome that INEC took all these decisions on its own.
“All the cases cited by the defendants were decision of court not the administrative decision of INEC.”
The judge accordingly granted reliefs 1-7 of the plaintiffs and ordered INEC to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of the SDP as well as the party’s logo on the ballot in the November 16 governorship poll in Kogi State.
The plaintiffs had approached the court to challenge their exclusion from the 2019 Kogi State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The commission had refused to accept the candidature of Khalid in replacement of the earlier nominated deputy governor, Mohammed Yakubu, on the grounds that Yakubu was not qualified in the first place to be fielded as a deputy governorship candidate in the election on account of his age.
But the plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1129/201and filed on October 3 by their lawyer, Mr. Ola Olanipekun (SAN), prayed the court to declare that INEC’s declaration vide a letter with reference number: LEG/PP/23/T/107 that the nomination of Mohammed Yakubu as the Deputy Governor of the SDP in the November 16 gubernatorial election is invalid on the grounds of qualification is ultra vires the statutory powers of INEC and it is therefore null and void.
The plaintiffs in addition prayed the court to declare that the refusal of INEC to recognize Yakubu as substituted deputy governorship candidate of the SDP in the November 16 gubernatorial election in Kogi State is unlawful and unconstitutional ab initi



Lawal Abdulsalam, Student of civil engineering, student from federal polytechnic Ede if you don't know Lawal Abdulsalam then perhaps you started blogging yesterday.He runs one of the most popular blogs on internet.

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Leah Sharibu reportedly delivers baby boy for Boko Haram commander




Leah Sharibu reportedly delivers baby boy for Boko Haram commander 20200126 083128

Leah Sheribu, a Christian girl, who has been in Boko Haram captivity for two years, has reportedly given birth to a baby boy.

Leah Sharibu was kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State, on February 19, 2018.

Sahara Reporters, Saturday night, published how Leah was delivered of the baby a few weeks ago following her forceful marriage to a top Boko Haram commander.

Quoting a reliable source, the news medium
said Leah, who refused to renounce her Christian faith, was forced to accept Islam before a forceful marriage.

DAILY POST reports that the revelation came a few days after Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, the aid worker rescued from Boko Haram, said that Leah Sharibu was alive and good condition.

Jennifer, a Plateau indigene, a staff of the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), gave an update on Leah Sharibu in Jos, after she was reunited with her family.

Jennifer said though she did not see Leah Sharibu, she was informed by one Alice, another girl who has been in captivity for about two years that Leah was alive.

She disclosed that the insurgents had refused to free Alice because negotiations for her release broke down and the captives believe that the government was not serious.

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Amotekun: Akeredolu reveals ‘major’ agreements Southwest governors reached with Osinbajo




Amotekun: Akeredolu reveals ‘major’ agreements Southwest governors reached with Osinbajo 20200124 093655

The Ondo State Governor and Chairman of the Southwest Governors, Rotimi Akeredolu, has disclosed what was agreed upon during the meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo with regards to Amotekun.

Akeredolu said governors of the region and Osinbajo agreed on a legal framework to be established to backup the region’s security outfit.

Recall that the Southwest governors had met with Osinbajo yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting is coming 24 hours after the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said Amotekun was not a threat to national unity.

Amotekun, an initiative of Southwest Governors, was first declared illegal last Tuesday by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

However, Akeredolu while addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, said: “We held a very fruitful discussion, the governors of the South-West were there. The meeting was presided over by the Vice President, the AGF was there and the Inspector General of Police.

“We have rubbed minds and all of us have agreed on the way forward. The most important thing is that we are going to have the legal framework to back this Amotekun. And this legal framework is going to be one in which all of us will look at and we will be sure that it goes without any hindrance.”

When asked if the agreement reached with the Vice President meant that the establishment of the outfit would be put on hold until the legal framework was developed, he said: “No. What I believe about our resolution is that Amotekan is there, you know the Federal Government is starting community policing. In essence really, it is about community. So, we are going to work together to see the community policing and Amotekan work in a way.”

Akeredolu also insisted that there were consultations before the establishment of Amotekun

“There were consultations, don’t say there were no consultations. There were consultations because we held discussions with the IG then and what has developed is what has led to this, not that there were no consultations.

“We just felt that with all these noise outside, it was better for us to sit down. Remember that immediately the noise started, I said that we were going to explore political solutions and all of us are here, my colleague, the deputy governor of Oyo State who is of the PDP, all of us are here. So, we have looked at both political and legal solutions to it and all of us will do it,” he said.

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