UPN presidential candidate drags INEC to court

Posted by News Express | 7 March 2015 | 3,088 times

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The Presidential candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Barrister (Mrs) Helen Godswill, yesterday, dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for failing to publish her name as one of the contestants in the coming general elections.

The latest development came barely one week after a Federal High Court also ordered INEC to register a new political party, Young Democratic Party (YDP).

UPN, Barrister Godswill, along 15 other candidates contesting for various political posts under UPN filed a Motion Exparte before Justice Okon Abang, accusing INEC of omitting their names among contestants in spite of fulfilling all the obligations required by INEC to contest an election.

At the hearing yesterday, counsel to the applicants, Akinwale Ekunnusi, told the court that in spite of submitting their names, forms and credentials to INEC through their party, yet the candidates’ names were not published by INEC.

“UPN submitted their (applicants) documents to INEC with credentials but when INEC released names of candidates of all parties for election last year that of UPN candidates were not released. We urged the court to grant the application as a matter of urgency because the election date is March 28 and the right of the applicants have been trampled on,” he said.

Questioned by the court on the reason behind the delay in filing the matter, the counsel argued that several meetings were held by the parties to resolve the issue but since they could not reach an agreement coupled with the strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the plaintiffs decided to seek redress in court.

Justice Abang however ruled that the applicants ought to have filed a Motion on Notice before Motion Exparte so as to inform the defendant of the matter in court and give it opportunity to defend itself. The court further ruled that though the application is a matter of urgency, there is need to give the defendant fair hearing.

“It is my view that the applicants submitted their names to INEC as candidates on the platform of UPN but INEC did not publish their names. It (INEC) has no justification not to publish their names. However, the court needs to hear from the defendants if the act was a mistake or intentional, “he ruled.

The court therefore ordered that ‘by Order 26, Rules 10 of the Federal High Court, the applicants Motion Exparte should be changed to Motion on Notice and INEC should be served on or before March 9, 2015.’

The applicants are seeking for ‘an order directing the defendant to list and publish the 2nd to 17th applicants names as candidates of the 1st applicants(UPN) contesting for the Presidential, National Assembly and States House of Assembly positions in the general election scheduled to hold on the March 28, 2015 and April 11, 2015

The matter was adjourned till March 12, 2015 for further hearing.

*From Newswatch Times. Photo shows INEC

Source: News Express

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