UPN sues INEC over candidates' omission on register

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Candidates on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria have instituted a legal action against the Independent National Electoral Commission over alleged failure to include their names on the register for the forthcoming general elections.

The candidates, 16 in number, approached a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday with an ex parte application seeking to compel INEC to immediately enter and publish their names on its list as candidates contesting the March 28 and April 11 polls.

The first applicants is one Helen Godswill, suing in the capacity of the party’s Presidential flag bearer.

The other applicants, who are seeking positions in various states Houses of Assembly and the Nation Assembly, are Adewale Arogundade, Ganiyat Folawewo, Taofeek Adeniyi, Augustine Omilabu, Henry Abimbola, Olufemi Gregory, Towobola Adebowale, Eberechukwu Orehewere and Ekeata Onwordi.

Others are Chukwuma Egbukichi, Samuel Ajaka, Ganiyat Agboola, Ramota Raji, Ramon Ajanosi and Hakeem Olaribigbe.

In an affidavit filed in support of the action and deposed to by the first applicant, Helen, the deponent averred that despite the fact that INEC monitored the party’s primary where the candidates were elected as the party’s candidates for various elective positions in the forthcoming elections, INEC, however, failed to publish their names.

While moving the application before Justice Okon Abang on Friday, the party’s lawyers, Akinwale Ekunusi and Akin Akintola, urged the court to compel INEC to do the needful by recognising the candidates and publishing their names accordingly.

According to Ekunusi, UPN had already submitted the names of the applicants to INEC together with their credentials.

Ekunusi added that out of all the names the party submitted to INEC, only that of the Ogun State governorship candidate of the party was published, a development which he said necessitated the legal action after several attempts to make INEC publish names of the others had failed.

But Abang, in a brief ruling, declined granting the ex parte application, saying it would be unfair to grant such an order without giving INEC the benefit of fair hearing.

The judge rather converted the ex parte application into a motion on notice and ordered service on INEC on or before March 9, 2015.

“I have gone through the process filed by the applicants. If indeed INEC was furnished with the applicants’ name and yet the commission did not enlist their names for the general elections, then it is proper for rule of fair hearing to allow INEC to come and explain why the names of the applicants were not listed as alleged,” Abang held.

He subsequently adjourned till March 11, 2015 for hearing.

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