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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

 

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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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1 Comment

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  1. Tajuana Janack

    November 15, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Awesome post. That was helpful

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Ogun: 54 persons die in Sagamu auto crashes – FRSC

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Ogun: 54 persons die in Sagamu auto crashes – FRSC

Ogun: 54 persons die in Sagamu auto crashes – FRSC FRSC

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Thursday, said that about 54 persons died in auto crashes in different parts of Sagamu, Ogun State, between January and October this year.

FRSC’s Sagamu Unit Commander, Taofiq Iyanda, made the disclosure at the ‘Ember Months Campaign”, at the Isale Oko Motor Park, Sagamu.

Iyanda said that within the Sagamu corridor, 104 road traffic crashes involving 143 vehicles were recorded, adding that about 897 persons were involved in the crashes and 329 persons sustained injuries within the period.

The unit commander advised motorists to always ensure that their vehicles were in good condition.

He said that the tendency for more people to travel in December had in the past resulted in a high number of road accidents.

“Drivers tend to overload their vehicles by carrying more than the permitted number of passengers, goods and luggage. During this period, commercial drivers also engaged in excessive speed to make more trips.

“These are traffic offences that happen during the ember months up to early January,” he said.

He said the unit command would deploy regular and special marshals as well as patrol vehicles, ambulances and power bikes along major corridors in the unit to check road crashes.

Speaking, the Corridor Commander of the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Mr Kehinde Hazmat, enjoined commercial vehicle drivers to always obey traffic rules and regulations and to observe the 50km/h speed limit, especially at construction zones.

The Ogun FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Clement Oladele, called on motorists to avoid every form of distraction while driving before, during and after the festive period.

Oladele said that the state command of FRSC would embark on a 24-hour surveillance during the festive period and appealed to motorists to bear with the inconveniences at every diversion point.

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Senate President, Lawan speaks on confirmation of Magu as EFCC Chairman

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Senate President, Lawan speaks on confirmation of Magu as EFCC Chairman lawan3 1024x768

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday, said there was no request before the 9th Senate for the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Lawan made this known when Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), paid him a visit at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the 8th Senate had on March 15, 2017 rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC due to security reports against him.

NAN also reports that Sagay had on Wednesday, made a case for the appointment of Magu as the substantive chairman of the commission.

According to the president of the Senate, this is a new Senate and therefore, until there is a request, there is nothing the Senate can do.

“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation.

“And the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.

“You have talked about passage of anti-corruption bills, you have come to the right place but you will also do your work.

“This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Representatives too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.

“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning.

“We are ready, in fact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them,” Lawan said.

Sagay on his part, said that Magu had done magnificent work so far in the years of being in acting capacity and if made substantive chairman, would be a good companion to the legislature in achieving the aims of anti-corruption in the country.

“We also want to bring before the Senate, some of the criticisms of the public in the area of oversight.

“There is this constant complain that members of committees demand some form of gratification before they would visit a place or write anything favourable about the ministries, departments and agencies.

“We appeal to the leadership to look into it and ensure that the oversight work of the Senate does not involve anything that will be described as extortion,” he said.

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