Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Monday held that the Action Alliance (AA) was ineligible to field candidates for the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
The party and its governorship candidates in Kogi and Bayelsa States, Dr Samuel Audu Alfa, and Ebi Peretiemo, had jointly filed a suit urging the court to declare them competent to contest the forthcoming elections in the states.
It is the contention of the plaintiffs that having satisfied the provisions of sections 85(1) (2) and 31(1) of the Electoral Act, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not have any validly legal reasons to reject the nomination of their candidates for the forthcoming elections in the two states.
They contended in the suit that having complied with the provisions of 85(1) to (2) and section 31(1) of the Electoral Act, INEC could not have validly rejected the nomination of their candidates for the forthcoming elections in the two states.
The plaintiffs said they were at the INEC headquarters on September 9 to submit Forms CF.001 and CF.002, among other nomination forms for the two candidates.
They said they were given tag number 15, but an INEC official in charge of the collection of the forms refused to accept their forms when it got to their turn.
But delivering judgment on Monday, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the party failed to comply with the INEC guidelines directing all political parties to submit their nomination forms at 6pm on September 9.
In addition, Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence that they were at the premises of INEC or attempted to submit their forms before 6 pm on September 9.
“I hold that their case lacks merit,” the judgment said.
He ruled: “The first plaintiff (AA), having not complied with the guidelines and regulations of INEC that it must submit its candidates’ nomination forms on or before 6pm on September 9, 2019, is ineligible to field candidates in the November 2019 governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”