The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss the legal action of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) against conduct of the election The party it will be recalled had gone to court to challenge the validity of the conduct of the Bayelsa State Governorship election of December 5, 2015.
The INEC said it was opposing the case in the ground that the suit was commenced in contravention of section 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Act having been filed more than three months the action being complained against was done.
INEC submission was contained in a preliminary objection raised against the HDP suit which it said was grossly incompetent by reason of non compliance with Rule 10 (1) (2) and (3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007. In the notice of the preliminary objection filed by Mr Ibrahim Bawa SAN, INEC had prayed Justice Steven Evoh Chukwu to strike out the suit since it lacks merit and substance.
He described the suit as incompetent, adding that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to inquire into it. This was contained in a 5-paragraph affidavit put forward in support of the objection, just as the electoral body claimed that it held a meeting on June 5, 2015 and approved the timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa State. The affidavit deposed to by one Paave Demenongo, said that at the time of the meeting, presided over by Professor Attahiru Jega as Chairman then, the INEC has the required quorum needed for the legitimacy of the meeting.
The affidavit indicated that the date of the governorship election in Bayelsa was amended by INEC on July 19 and that the timetable and schedule of activities released on June 19 was duly signed by Secretary to the commission. INEC also averred that the timetable and schedule of activities was widely publicized in both electronic and print media while it was also conveyed to all the registered Political Parties in the country.
-Tony Ailemen, Abuja