Nigeria News
Ebonyi LG Elections: Appeal Court Restrains EBSIEC on Ballot System

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu yesterday restrained the Ebonyi state Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) from the use of open ballot system for the conduct of the 2013 and future local government elections in the state.
The appellant, Hon. Peter Nwali, through his counsel Mr. Godwin Onwusi had approached the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining EBSIEC from using open ballot system of voting to conduct the September 28, 2013 or any other local government elections in the state.
In a suit with No. FHC/A1/CS/38/2013, Nwali contended that the use of the open ballot, that is queuing behind the candidate of his choice in the full glare of everybody constitutes a violation of his right to privacy as guaranteed by section 37 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
The respondents, EBSIEC (1st), Speaker of Ebonyi state House of Assembly (2nd), Attorney General of Ebonyi state (3rd) had filed a preliminary injunction but the counsel to Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Abakaliki (4th) respondent filed nothing, saying that they are neutral in the matter.
The trial court on September 20, 2013 delivered its ruling upholding the preliminary objection and stating that it would not go into the substantive motion having upheld the said objection.
Dissatisfied with this ruling, the applicant on September 24 commenced appeal with suit No. CA/ E/510/2013 against the part of the ruling dismissing the application for not falling within the purview of Section 37 of the 1999 constitution to determine whether the court below was right when it held that the complaint of the applicant does not fall within the contemplation of Fundamental Rights and cannot be enforced through the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

The Court of Appeal, in its ruling delivered by Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, set aside the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents’ preliminary objection and thereby granted the appellant’s application by motion on notice for the enforcement of his fundamental rights. The CA also ordered that 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents shall pay cost of N100, 000 to the appellant.