HDP Files Contempt Charges against INEC Chairman

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By Chuks Okocha

One of the deregistered political parties, the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), has filed a contempt of court Form 48 to commit the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commissions (INEC) to prison for disobedience to court order.

In a statement issued by the party National Publicity Secretary, Usman Sani, HDP said: “Following the due services of Forms 48 and 49 by the court, the party has formally filed motion dated June 22, 2020, before the court to commit Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and Mrs. Rose Oriaran Anthony, the INEC chairman and secretary respectively, to prison for their continued contemptuous act of willful and fragrant disobedience of subsisting judgment order of perpetual injunction as made by court on October 22, 2014.”

The party said the restraining is for the named contemnors to desist from further acts of publication, pronouncement, obstruction, deregistering, delisting and or interfering with the operation and activities of the plaintiff (HDP) as a duly registered political party in Nigeria.

According to the party, “It is public knowledge that INEC ought to be the epitome of democratic institution and an observer of the rule of law, but recklessly engages in disobedience of court orders as well as sponsors impostors using the names of registered political parties to procure false judgment without the knowledge and authority of the party’s leadership as it did before the presidential election petition tribunal and recently, before Justice Taiwo Taiwo in its recent effort to scuttle the ongoing contempt proceedings against them after having been served Forms 48 to show cause.”

The HDP further said: “Our great party believes in the due process of the law, and that INEC, being a creation of the law, must operate within the law as it has no power to disobey court judgment/orders of subsisting perpetual injunction under any guise.”

HDP said it has a subsisting court order against INEC deregistering it as a political party, but the commission has refused to obey the order, hence the filling of the contempt of court on the INEC chairman and secretary.

The party lamented that “it is disheartening that INEC still chose this ignoble path after the Court of Appeal/ Presidential Election Tribunal decisions and rebukes over such unbecoming engagement of a public democratic institution which put Nigeria in a dire strait being a supposed electoral umpire.”

The motion, which is seeking a one year imprisonment for INEC chairman and secretary, comes up for hearing soon before Federal High Court 8 in Abuja.