Home Politics Court orders INEC to accept Labour Party’s candidates in 24 states

Court orders INEC to accept Labour Party’s candidates in 24 states

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the nomination of candidates of the Labour Party in 24 states either manually or through its electronic nomination portal.

Delivering judgment in the suits brought before him by the party, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that INEC violated Sections 31, 33 and 36 of the Electoral Act 2022 by rejecting the party’s candidates.

Last Novenber, the Labour Party had carried out substitution nominations for its candidates who withdrew in some states from the 2023 general elections.

Through its National Chairman and National Secretary, the party communicated the withdrawals to INEC.

It also gave notification of the 27 October to conduct substitution nomination primary elections.

However, rather than upload the fresh candidates’ names, INEC said that its nomination portal was faulty and declined to accept the candidates list manually.

The 24 affected states include Kwara, Plateau, Nasarawa, Lagos, Bayelsa, Oyo, Benue, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom and Ekiti.

Others are include Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Gombe, Borno, Osun, Adamawa and Cross River, among others.

The court held that the evidence of the Labour Party exchanging letters with INEC was credible and proceeded to attach probative value to it and that the party should not be made to bear the effect of a non-functional electronic nomination portal.

Agreeing with the Labour Party that nomination and submission of candidates list cannot be rejected by INEC until 90 days to the general election, Justice Ekwo stated that the time the party sought to submit a list of its candidates in the 24 states was more than 90 days to the 2023 general elections, and thus was within time permissible by law.

Justice Ekwo ordered INEC to open its website to allow the Labour Party to submit a list of its candidates or accept the list manually.

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