The court cancelled the Plateau election because the CPC candidates were barred by INEC
The Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja presided over by Justice A.F.A Ademola, Thursday, nullified the election of Gyang Pwajok, representing Plateau North Senatorial District in the Nigerian Senate.
The Court also nullified the election of Kaneng Fulani representing Barki/Ladi State Constituency of the Plateau State House of Assembly. Both men were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The two positions, Plateau North Senatorial District and that of the State House of Assembly became vacant following the demise of late Senator Gyang Dangtong and late Gyang Fulani at a mass funeral in Maseh Village on Sunday July 8.
The Court held that Independent National Electoral Commissioner, INEC, has no modicum of power under the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) to reject the name of any candidate submitted to it by a Political Party on an alleged ground failure of the Party to conduct Primary Election.
The court rebuked INEC for going ahead to conduct the election on October 6, even though it had notice of the case filed by the Congress for Progressive Change on October 4. The case challenged the power of INEC to reject the names of candidates submitted to it for elections into the two positions on the ground that the party failed to conduct party primaries.
The court said that the conduct of INEC in going ahead to conduct elections on October 6, when it had notice of a pending suit, smacks of executive lawlessness and impunity that is unbecoming of a supposedly responsibility constitutional body such as INEC.
The Congress for Progressive Change had filed Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ 629 /2012 through its Counsel, Okoi Obono-Obla on October 6, seeking a declaration that INEC has no power to reject the names submitted as CPC candidates for the bye election to fill the vacant seats for Plateau North Senatorial District and Barki/Ladi State Constituency of the Plateau State House of Assembly respectively.
The court agreed entirely with the submission of counsel to the CPC, Mr. Obono-Obla that the rejection of names submitted to INEC by the party on the alleged ground that no primary election was conducted is wrong, illegal, arbitrarily and capricious.
Accordingly the court ordered Gyang Pwajok and Kaneng Fulani to stop forthwith from parading themselves as Senators representing Plateau North Senatorial District in the Senate and Barki/Ladi State Constituency of Plateau State House of Assembly respectively. The court consequently ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days. The court further ordered INEC to put the names of candidates submitted by the CPC in the ballot paper for the election.
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