Court orders INEC to include candidate in Bayelsa election tomorrow

by Chi Ibe

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include the candidate of the African Liberation Party (ALP), Mr. Dumbo Hink and his running mate, Austine Adigio on the ballot.

Another suit seeking to halt the election will be heard this morning by the same court presided over by Justice Donatus Okonkwo.

The ALP through its counsel, Mr. Henry Akunebu had filed an ex-parte motion praying the court to approve an interim injunction directing INEC to include the name of the party in the ballot for Saturday’s election.

The ALP premised its application on Section 138 (1)(d) of the Electoral Act, saying the exclusion of its candidate was a violation of the Act.

In the suit seeking to stop the election tabled via an ex-parte motion by attorney Kayode Ajulo, counsel for the candidate of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), Chief Kenneth Gbaligah Gbalikumah, the Plaintiff is seeking an interim injunction barring INEC from holding the election on Saturday.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega and the electoral body were listed as first and second respondents respectively.

When the matter came up Thursday, the trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo ordered the plaintiff to put the respondents on notice and adjourned till Friday for commencement of hearing.
The plaintiff is seeking a declaration that by the combined effects of subsisting judgement of the Supreme Court in the matter of Osun state Independent National Electoral Commission INEC V Action Congress and the provision of Section 30 of the Electoral Act 2010, the 12 days notice issued by the Defendant for the election into the vacant office of the Governor of Bayelsa State is null and void, saying it is not consistent with the provisions of Section 30 of Electoral Act.
The Plaintiff is also a declaration that INEC cannot validly conduct a governorship election in Bayelsa State in accordance with Section 30 of the Electoral Act.

The Plaintiff is also seeking an order directing INEC to give the statutory notice of election into the vacant office of the Governor of Bayelsa State as prescribed by Section 30 of Electoral Act.
The Plaintiff is further seeking an order restraining INEC from giving effect to the implementation of its 12 days’ notice of election into the office of the governor of Bayelsa State.

The upcoming Bayelsa governorship election has witnessed series of court cases filed by various parties with interest in the election including the former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, who was disqualified by his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from contesting in the party’s December Governorship Primary.

Sylva will however not be a candidate for the election as a Supreme Court adjournment till April 20, 2012, in his cross appeal dashed his hope of being a candidate of the PDP in Saturday’s poll

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