Debate Exclusion: Court Orders Accelerated Hearing on Suit against BON


Udora Orizu in Abuja

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has ordered an accelerated hearing in a suit filed by the African Action Congress (AAC) and its presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, against the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and Mr. John Momoh, the Chairman of BON, challenging their exclusion from the presidential election debate organised by the respondents.

NEDG/BON had shortlisted some parties and candidates for its debate ahead of the forthcoming elections.

The shortlisted include the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria’s Oby Ezekwesili; Alliance for New Nigeria—Fela Durotoye; All Progressives Congress– President Muhammadu Buhari; Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar and Young Progressives Party– Kingsley Moghalu.

A statement issued by Sowore 2019 Campaign’s Director, Media and Communications, Rachel Onamusi-Kpiasi, read in part: “ Sitting in Court 14 of the FCT High Court, Jabi, on Monday, December 31, 2018, Hon. Justice D. Z. Senchi listened to a motion ex-parte for interim injunction to restrain the defendants from organizing or holding the January 19, 2019 presidential election debate without including the AAC among the political parties selected to participate in the debate.

“After listening to submi-ssions made by the National Legal Adviser of the AAC, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, the court ruled that the urgency of the case warranted an accelerated hearing of the suit to allow all parties in the suit to state their cases before a decision could be made.”

He therefore adjourned the case to January 8, 2019 for hearing and also ordered that all processes in the suit must be filed before the next adjourned date and that no application for extension of time will be entertained by the Court.