Udora Orizu in Abuja
The aggrieved chairmen of the 61 political parties have formally dragged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to court asking the court to bar the electoral body from using the 2019 election guidelines to conduct the forthcoming elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu is the defendant in the suit FHC/ABJ/C5/31/2019 before the Federal High Court, Abuja, where the party chairmen are seeking for an injunction preventing him from proceeding with the use of the document to conduct the elections.
The suit, which was filed by the Chairmen of Action People Party (APP) Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere; Kenneth Udeze of
Action Alliance Party (AA); Dr. Sam Eke of Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), and Nsehe Nseobong of Restoration Party of Nigeria (RPN), is expected to be heard today.
The plaintiffs are seeking for an injunctive order restraining INEC from giving further effect to 2019 election guideline document.
Ugochinyere, who is the spokesperson for the political parties’ chairmen opposing the guidelines, called on Yakubu to exhibit neutrality and save the elections from total credibility crisis by “removing the illegal, unpopular and anti-free and unfair insertions in the guidelines and produce a guideline which reflects the yearnings of key stakeholders”.
He said the party chairmen similarly expected that since the matter is before court, the INEC chairman should desist from going ahead with his plan to secretly release the guideline contrary to the objection by the major key stakeholders.
In a veiled accusation he said Yakubu had been shunning an emergency meeting called by the party stalwarts in the past five days to resolve the questions surrounding the guideline before its release, saying that the INEC chairman also switched off his phone and refused to see the political parties.
“This shows that he might have more vested interests in the guideline going by his locked-up and dictatorial method of taking sole actions without key stakeholders’ input. We must let Nigerians know that the election has been programmed to fail with the flawed guideline and the plan to reverse the usual separate accreditation and voting system for an unpopular accreditation and vote- and- go method which will make the polling unit scanty and easy to be overrun,” Ugochinyere added.
He further stated that the decision to declare INEC chairman a persona non-grata is still alive and will be unleashed once he proceeds to unilaterally use the manipulated guideline.
“The decision to shut the door to the genuine demand for accreditation figure announcement and issuance to party agents before commencement of voting is a clear indication that INEC is not ready for free and fair polls.”