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2023: NNPP tackles INEC for refusing to replace Shekarau, other defectors on portal



The New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) on Thursday tackled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for refusing to replace its candidates who defected to other parties despite court orders to the effect.

The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Major Agbo, the NNPP lamented that one month before the general elections, its candidates are not listed on INEC’s portal as their spaces are filled with names of those who had gone to other parties.

He said the party had already obtained judgements from the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, directing the commission to accept the new names.

Some of the candidates the NNPP for parties include former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last year, Ibrahim Mikra, and Yahaya Gamaje, among others.

Shekarau’s name had appeared on the INEC final list as NNPP’s senatorial candidate for Kano Central Senatorial District, despite his defection from the party on August 29 last year.

The statement read: “We are aware of a grand plot to deliberately sabotage NNPP and deprive our great party of the opportunity to field candidates for these critical positions.

“The party approached the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, on September 12, 2022, by an originating summons on whether upon the proper interpretation of Sections 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the defendant (INEC) has the constitutional and statutory powers to prevent the Plaintiff NNPP from conducting fresh primaries and replacing their candidates who have voluntarily withdrawn from the race to contest the 2023 general election?

READ ALSO: Absence of defence counsel stalls trial of NNPP’s Assembly candidate for alleged N1.4bn fraud

“The NNPP sought an order directing INEC to allow the party to submit the names of all the candidates it wants to replace with those who voluntarily withdrew their candidature for the 2023 general election and publish their names.

“Delivering judgement in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/632/2022, on November 11, 2022, Justice Z B. Abubakar stated that the candidates who withdrew their candidature and resigned their membership of the plaintiff cease to be the plaintiff’s candidates/or members as such the defendant (INEC) cannot impose them on the plaintiff, stressing that the action of INEC in imposing those candidates on the NNPP is an assault on the extant provisions of Sections 65(2)(b), 106(d), 177(c) and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution which made it mandatory that, for a person to be qualified to contest the election, he must be a member of a political party and sponsored by that political party. Justice Abubakar granted the five reliefs sought by the party.

“In a well-calculated effort to frustrate the party, INEC appealed the judgement of the Federal High Court in appeal number CA/ABJ/CV/1295/2022.

“In its judgement delivered on January 3, 2023, by Justice I. B. Gafai, the court declared, “On the whole therefore, both issues having been resolved against the Appellant (INEC), this Appeal ends as one without merit, liable to be and is hereby dismissed. The judgement of the lower court is thus affirmed.”

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