Kogi, Bayelsa polls: Supreme Court dismisses ACPN’s, FJP’s appeal against INEC

Kogi, Bayelsa polls: Supreme Court dismisses ACPN’s, FJP’s appeal against INEC

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed two separate appeals filled by the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The ACPN and FJP had instituted separate actions over what they called their parties’ unlawful exclusion from the November 16, 2019, Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who led a five-man panel of justices, dismissed the cases, which had been withdrawn by the appellants’ counsel.

Justice Ngwuta described the cases as academic which cannot be heard.

“This case, having been withdrawn and there being no objection, is hereby dismissed and all parties bear their costs,” he said.

Lead counsel to both appellants (ACPN and FJP), A. Adamson, who had told the panel that his clients came to the apex court to obtain justice, eventually withdrew the case.

Counsel to INEC, Mr. S. O. Ibrahim, told the court that he had no objection to the withdrawal of the appeal and that his client was not asking for costs.

Both parties claimed that they were unlawfully excluded from the elections, even after complying with the election timetable issued by the electoral umpire.

They claimed they did their governorship primaries in Lokoja and Yenagoa on September 5, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of the INEC and met all other election requirements.

But the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the cases.

Both parties went to the apex court for proper interpretation of the law, having been displeased with the judgements of the two lower courts.

They prayed the court to enforce their rights to participate in the elections, declare all INEC’s actions null and void and of no consequence and subsequently order for fresh elections.

Report tells that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, in two judgments on October 25, 2019, affirmed INEC’s decision to reject the candidates.

The court’s decision was based on the grounds that they were statute-barred.

Justice Ojukwu held that INEC took its decision based on its constitutional powers to reject any candidates after finding that both parties failed to comply with its deadline for the submission of candidates’ lists and nomination forms.