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Pre-election Matters: Why we are in court – NNPP

…As hearing again adjourns to Sept. 22nd.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

As pre-election matters suffer third time adjournment in the month of September, 2022, in Federal High Court Kaduna, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has released a statement on the reasons why it is in court.

The Federal High Court 2 sitting in Kaduna had earlier rescheduled the pre-election matter, between the NNPP, INEC and others for Friday, 15th, and later adjourned it for Thursday, 22nd September, 2022.

However, a statement, titled: ‘Summary of why the NNPP is in court,’ and released to journalists at the end of the sitting on Friday by the state Party Secretary, Major Yahaya Ibrahim Shinku (Rtd), stated that the party is challenging the action, activity and decision of INEC in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

“Summary of why the NNPP is in Court. The NNPP is in the Federal High Court Kaduna Judicial Division challenging the action, activity and decision of the INEC in preparations for the 2023 general elections, in two separate suits with the PDP joined as a party in the Suit No. FHC KD/CS/116/2022 and the APC joined as a party in the Suit No. FHC/KD/CS/117/2022,” it stated.

“The noncompliance of the APC and PDP with the outlined procedure of election of Ad-hoc delegates, as the only persons known to the law and permitted to participate at the Indirect Primaries to vote and nominate the candidates of the two political parties for the various elective positions of Kaduna State Governor and members to the State House of Assembly in the 2023 general elections have implication under Section 29(1), 84(5)(8)(13) of the Electoral Act, 2022.  

“But the INEC refused and failed to discharge its duty of invoking and giving effect to the extant laws in force, as it went ahead and arbitrarily featured the names of such candidates of the APC and PDP in the list that was made public by it on 22nd July, 2022, as though the candidates of those two political parties (APC & PDP) emerged from Valid Primaries,” it noted.

Further to the above, “the NNPP also recalled that, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the INEC have earlier issued a Press Release through its National
Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (Festus
Okoye, Esq.), dated Tuesday, 5th April, 2022, by which it drew the attention of Nigerians, particularly the political parties, when it made public and stated, among other things that, where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of the law in the conduct of its primaries, its candidates shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue, as follows:-

“The Commission wishes to reiterate that, parties must adhere strictly to the principles of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines,
Commission. Their candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections,” it stated.

The release also stated that, “The NNPP contends that the INEC that have in its possession the documents and conditions for election of Delegates to nominate and elect their candidates towards evidence of the refusal of the APC and PDP to comply with all the legal mandatory arriving at and conducting Valid Primaries by the system of Indirect Primaries have the candidates of the 2nd Defendant as though they emerged from “Valid Primaries,” suddenly failed to comply and apply the provisions of the cited extant laws in its activity, decision and action of 22 July, 2022, when it wrongly included and published.

“The NNPP is with the view that no matter how peacefully the proceedings at the Indirect Primaries adopted by the APC & PDP were conducted and with the results accepted by all, it is certainly like building a mansion on a quicksand, as the Delegates, who nominated the candidates of the two political parties in those Primaries, were only handpicked and compiled in the name of ‘consensus,’ without conducting Ward Congresses in which all their respective registered members in every Ward shall participate and vote by open-secret ballot to become a Delegate, and as outlined in their Constitutions and Guidelines, as one of the preconditions/condition precedent under the Electoral Act, 2022 (and, as Hausa man will say, “An yi gini ne da Tubalin Toka”).

“In view of the above, hence as of a pre-election matter the NNPP resorted to the Court with the two suits filed on 04th August, 2022, pursuant to Section 285(9)(14)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) seeking interpretation and application of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and determination on whether or not the action, decision and activity of the INEC of 22 July, 2022, which has bearing on nomination of candidates, is valid,” it stated.

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