Candidates Drag INEC to Court over 2019 Electoral Guidelines

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By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

With less than 25 days to next month’s general election, some candidates seeking various positions under the umbrella of Concerned 2019 Elections Candidates (CEC) have dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying the court to compel the electoral body to use the 2019 election guidelines in the conduct of the elections.

The use of the 2019 election guidelines and regulations has been a subject of debate, with the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) insisting that INEC revert to the 2015 election regulations and guidelines in conducting the 2019 elections.

But addressing journalists Friday in Abuja, the presidential candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Dr. Breakforth Onwubuya, who spoke on behalf of the other candidates, prayed the court to determine whether INEC has the power to issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purposes of the conduct of any election.

Onwubuya, in an originating summon issued by the solicitor to the party and other candidates, Sunday Ezema Esq., said if the court affirms that INEC has power to issue such guidelines, it should therefore declare that INEC competently issued the extant 2019 elections regulations and guidelines in line with its statutory powers

He said: “This action is backed by Section 153 of the electoral Act, which gives INEC the right to issue guidelines and regulations for the conduct of elections. So what we are saying is that the issuance of the 2019 INEC guideline is in line with its statutory provision of the Electoral Act.”

He also prayed the court to grant an “order of mandatory injunction directing and compelling the defendant, either by itself, staff, agent, privies, employees or howsoever called to use, rely upon, enforce in any other manner apply the 2019 INEC election regulations guidelines for the conduct of election”.