Law News
Respond to UPN case, Court orders INEC

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to respond to the suit filed by some candidates of Unity Party of Nigeria, contending their alleged non-inclusion in the commission’s register for the forthcoming polls.

The candidates, 16 in number, had, last week Friday, approached Justice Okon Abang with an ex parte application seeking to compel INEC to immediately enter and publish their names on its list as candidates contesting the March 28 and April 11 polls.

The judge, however, refused the application, but rather converted it to a motion on notice and ordered service on INEC before March 9, 2015.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, counsel for INEC, Jesinta Kelechukwu, however, said that the commission had yet to file any response as the motion on notice had not been served on it yet.

But the applicants’ counsel, Effiong Bassey, recalled that the originating summons had since been served on INEC.

Abang, in a short ruling, ordered INEC to respond to the suit on or before March 17, so that the matter could be heard on the said date.

The applicants, through one Helen Godswill, being the presidential flag bearer of UPN, had sued INEC for failing to include their names as candidates on its list.

Apart from Godswill, the other applicants, who are seeking positions in various states Houses of Assembly and the Nation Assembly, are Adewale Arogundade, Ganiyat Folawewo, Taofeek Adeniyi, Augustine Omilabu, Henry Abimbola, Olufemi Gregory, Towobola Adebowale, Eberechukwu Orehewere and Ekeata Onwordi.

Others are Chukwuma Egbukichi, Samuel Ajaka, Ganiyat Agboola, Ramota Raji, Ramon Ajanosi and Hakeem Olaribigbe.

In an affidavit filed in support of the action and deposed to by the first applicant, Godswill, the deponent averred that despite the fact that INEC monitored the party’s primary where the candidates were elected as the party’s candidates for various elective positions in the forthcoming elections, INEC, however, failed to publish their names.

While moving the application before Justice Okon Abang last Friday, the party’s lawyers, Akinwale Ekunusi and Akin Akintola, urged the court to compel INEC to do the needful by recognising the candidates and publishing their names accordingly.

According to Ekunusi, UPN had already submitted the names of the applicants to INEC together with their credentials.

Ekunusi added that out of all the names the party submitted to INEC, only that of the Ogun State governorship candidate of the party was published, a development which he said necessitated the legal action after several attempts to make INEC to publish names of the others had failed.

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