Cross River: INEC ordered to accept Labour Party candidate’s name
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the Labour Party (LP) submit the name of its candidate, Clarita Ogar, for the 2023 Cross River House of Representatives election.
Justice Donatus Okorowo, in a judgment, held that the Electoral Act, 2022 is superior to INEC guidelines on elections.
Mr Okorowo stated further that section 31 of the Electoral Act, 2022 allows parties to submit names of candidates that emerge from substitution primaries no later than 90 days before the election. He added that INEC, by its manuals, could not limit the time provided by the Electoral Act.
Mr Ogar emerged as the Labour Party candidate for the 2023 Yala/Ogoga federal constituency poll in Cross River. However, the party could not meet the INEC’s guidelines for submitting Ms Ogar’s name as its candidate for the constituency.
INEC had given July 15 for submitting the list of candidates for the presidential and national assembly elections and August 12 for the governorship and state house of assemblies polls.
But the party, in an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1325/22, had sued INEC as sole respondent in the suit. In the matter filed by its lawyer, Monday Mawah, Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi, and Ogar were first to third applicants, respectively.
The applicants prayed the court to make an order directing INEC to allow the party to submit the candidate’s name for the Yala/Ogoga federal constituency election electronically or manually. They urged the court to declare that, by virtue of section 31 of the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC had no power to reject the name of its candidate.
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