The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed two separate appeals filled by the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The ACPN and FJP had instituted separate actions over what they alleged was their parties’ unlawful exclusion from the Nov. 16, 2019, Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections.
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta who led a five-man panel of justices dismissed the cases which had been withdrawn by the appellants’ counsel.
Ngwuta described the cases as academic and therefore cannot be heard and said, `this case having been withdrawn, and there being no objection is hereby dismissed, and all parties bear their costs.
A. Adamson, lead Counsel to both appellants (ACPN and FJP), who had earlier told the panel that his clients came to the apex court to obtain justice eventually withdrew the case.
Mr S. O Ibrahim counsel to INEC also told the court that he had no objection to the withdrawal of the appeal and were equally not asking for costs.
Both parties claimed that they were unlawfully excluded from the elections even after complying with the election timetable issued by the electoral umpire.
They claimed they did their governorship primaries in Lokoja and Yenagoa respectively on September 5, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of the INEC and also met all other requirements.
However, both the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal in Abuja had earlier dismissed the cases
Both parties went to the apex court for proper interpretation of the law having been displeased with the judgements of the two lower courts.
They prayed the court to enforce their rights to participate in the elections, declare all INEC’s actions null and void and of no consequence and subsequently order for fresh elections.
NAN reports that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, of the Federal High Court in two judgments on Oct. 25, 2019 affirmed INEC’s decision to reject the candidates.
The court’s decision was based on the grounds that they were statute-barred.
Ojukwu held that INEC took its decision based on its constitutional powers to reject any candidates after finding that both parties failed to comply with its deadline for the submission of candidates’ lists and nomination forms.