The national leadership of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the Supreme Court over unlawful exclusion from the November 16, 2019, Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections.
Party’s National chairman, Ganiyu Galadima, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, noted that despite fully complying with the election timetable issued by the electoral umpire by conducting it’s governorship primaries in Lokoja and Yenagoa on September 5, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of the INEC and also met all other requirements, it “unlawfully excluded it from the ballot.
Both Federal High Court and Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the ACPN’s case, but its national chairman said the party was not satisfied with the judgements of the lower courts.
“We are not pleased with the judgements of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal on the matter and ultimately in the Supreme Court for the proper interpretation of the law if the ACPN can unlawfully be denied participation in an election where all conditions have been met. And we are sure of winning at the Supreme Court.
“The matter is now at the Supreme Court of Nigeria against INEC in respect of the unlawful denial of the ACPN from participating in November 16, 2019 governorship elections held in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“The ACPN complied fully with the election timetable issued by the electoral umpire by conducting it’s governorship primaries in Lokoja and Yenagoa respectfully on September 5, 2019 in the presence of the representatives of the INEC wherein candidates of the party for the two elections emerged. There was also evidence confirmed by the INEC to the effect that our party, the ACPN fulfilled all righteousness as far as the elections were concerned.
“To our consternation, however, we were unlawfully denied the opportunity to file the nomination papers of our candidates by INEC on the ground that we did not arrive at INEC headquarters for filling of necessary forms before 6pm September 9, 2019. This did not go down well with us because the INEC did not issue any official correspondence to our party, the ACPN, that a crucial political exercise that we had invested so much energy and resources and was supposed to end at 11.59pm September 9, 2019 was unlawfully stopped at 6pm.
“Going by the timetable issued and delivered to the ACPN headquarters by the INEC, we are still within the limit of the time given to political parties to file nomination on September 9, 2019. Similarly, Scetion 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) gave political parties 60 days to election within which to file nomination of candidates which day ended on September 15, 2019.
“The provisions of the Electoral Act gave our party the latitude to submit names of candidates that are already known to INEC having participated in the nomination exercise. “Sequel to this unjustifiable action of INEC, the ACPN is asking the court to enforce our rights to participate in the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states and to declare all actions of the INEC in the said elections null and void and of no consequence. “The reactions of the ACPN in the circumstance is to strengthen the institutions of democracy which has come to stay in our country,” he insisted.