Posted by News Express | 13 September 2017 | 2,281 times
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been called upon to postpone the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 18 this year.
In a letter to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, an Onitsha-based human rights lawyer, Barr. Jezie Ekejiuba, who is also the President of the Voters Rights International, referred to the pending Supreme Court case the commission filed on September 29, 2016 in Appeal No: SC.671/2016 INEC V. Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba & Anor.
“We also refer you to our earlier letter captioned: 'INEC Must Obey Appeal Court Judgment Re-listing All De-Registered Political Parties' dated 24th March, 2017 which was received and acknowledged by the Office of the Honourable Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Anambra State. Referenced letter and excerpts of the Supreme Court processes are hereby annexed for your information.
“We reiterate that the interpretation of the Appeal Court judgment as can be seen in Orders 1, 3 and 4 is that all formerly de-registered political parties in Nigeria were restored back to life. This is the status quo in line with the prevailing rule of law in Nigeria. Rather than obeying the Appeal Court Judgment Orders and respecting the status quo as demanded in the referenced letter, your commission on 9/5/2017 served on us the Appeal it had earlier filed at the Supreme Court on 29/9/2016 without any hearing date for the Appeal.
“May we inform your commission that in line with the prevailing Rule of Law, an Appeal does not operate as a stay of execution of the substantive Judgment Orders secured in the Appeal Judgment reported in Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba V. INEC & Anor (2016) LPELR 40926 CA-E/170/2014. The implication is that the Enugu Appeal Court Judgment Orders remains the status quo until stayed or set aside.
“Despite the above prevailing status quo, your commission like a Leviathan have proceeded with the Anambra governorship election in complete disobedience of the subsisting Appeal Court Judgment Orders. It amount to subjudice and contempt of court for your commission to file an appeal on the subject-matter touching on the exclusion of all formerly de-registered political parties on the one hand and on the other hand tamper with the same subject –matter of appeal by excluding all formerly de-registered political parties. Political parties are in charge of the nomination of candidates for an election but your pending Appeal has encumbered these parties as no sane politician will join and contest an election with an encumbered party subject of litigation. It is against the principle of Lis Pendens for INEC to be aware that this case it filed is still going on in the apex court and still go on to conduct election into the office of the Governor of Anambra State.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria in a plethora of cases has held that it is the political parties that contest general elections and not candidates (politicians). By this ratio decidendi, it is unlawful to proceed with the Anambra governorship election as presently scheduled for November 18, 2017 when all formerly de-registered political parties which were restored back to life by the Enugu Appeal Court Judgment are still unrecognised and excluded by your commission.
“Our Stand therefore is that Anambra election or any other general election in Nigeria henceforth cannot be allowed to be conducted by the Appellant, INEC, to the exclusion of all formerly de-registered political parties restored back to life by Appeal Court Judgment Orders.
“The legal implication of exclusion of political parties in an election is too well known. INEC is putting its ballots in peril and wasting tax-payers money in conducting any general election such as Anambra election that is liable to being nullified and voided by Court of law for disobedience of the said Appeal Court Judgment Orders.
“In the circumstances your commission is hereby warned and given the option to withdraw the said Supreme Court case it filed, publish, recognise and include all formerly de-registered political parties in Nigeria in line with the subsisting Appeal Court Judgment Orders to be part of the Anambra election and ultimately postpone the Anambra election to a later date for the purpose of making amends accordingly. Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) is very clear on the postponement of election.
“If after 14 days counting from the date of service of this letter, your commission still fail, neglect or refuse to withdraw the said Supreme Court case, publish, recognise and include all formerly de-registered political parties in Nigeria in line with the subsisting Appeal Court Judgment Orders to be part of the Anambra election and ultimately fail to postpone the Anambra election to a later date for the purpose of making amends accordingly, we shall have no other option than to file an interlocutory application at the Supreme Court for an injunction to put the Anambra election on hold in order to preserve the status quo pending the final determination of the substantive Appeal at the Supreme Court.”
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