The Federal High Court, sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has fixed today for the hearing of the case, filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the candidates of three opposition parties-All Progressives Congress (APC), Accord party, and Labour party -challenging their eligibility in the forthcoming general election in the state.
Joined as defendants in the suit, are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC governorship candidate, Olorogun Ortega Emerhor; Labour Party governorship candidate, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, Accord Party Senatorial candidate for Delta North, Hon Victor Ochei and 95 others.
Mr. Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN), who filed the suit on behalf of the party in a suit no (FHC/ASB/CS/28, 29, 30/2015), want the court to disqualify them on the ground that their parties violated sections 85(1) of the Electoral Acts, 2010 (as amended).
The section reads: “Every registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting, convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this act.”
The plaintiff said the three political parties breached the constitutional provision, having held their primaries less than 21 days after the notices they gave to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the holding of their primaries to choose candidates for the 2015 election.
The originating summons, dated 17th March, 2015, in which PDP is asking the court to determine whether the defendants did not violate “the requirement of at least twenty-one (21) days’ notice of primary election, convention, congress, conference or meeting, usually given to the 1st defendant (INEC), by the 2nd defendant and other political parties in Nigeria, is mandatory and binding.”
PDP also want the court to determine whether the notice of meeting received by INEC from the defendants on the 18th, 21st and 25th November, 2014, respectively, for the purpose of nominating and accepting the parties’ candidates for the elective office of the Governor, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly respectively, is valid in law and binding on INEC.
Besides, the party is seeking the court to resolve whether INEC‘s acceptance and recognition of the defendants as nominated candidates for the purpose of contesting the 2015 general election into elective offices is not null, void, illegal, and unlawful.