The Advance Congress of Democrats (ACD), Alliance Of Social Democrats (ASD), Change Advocacy Party (CAP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC) and 70 other political parties have dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) to court over their exclusion from the parties to participate in the forthcoming Delta State local government elections slated for March 6, 2021.
In an originating summons with suit case file No FHC/ASB/CS/4/21, filed at the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta, by Kelechi Nnadi, counsel for the political parties, supported with affidavit deposed to by Lucky Dikadi, the state chairman of Change Advocacy Party (CAP) prayed the court for an injunction to compel the INEC and DSIEC (Ist and 2nd defendants) to cancel all primaries conducted in the state until their parties are included in the ballot.
The 74 political parties who are plaintiffs in the case are seeking the court to determine, among other things “whether in the light of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Abuja judicial division dated, 10 August, 2020 in Appeal No CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020, setting aside the deregistration of the plaintiffs and ordering the relisting of the plaintiffs, among others in the register of the political parties, the defendants can lawfully preclude the plaintiffs and their candidates from participating in the Delta State local government elections.
“Whether having regard to the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020, the Ist defendant is not obligated to relist the plaintiffs in the register of political parties in Nigeria to enable the plaintiffs exercise their powers under section 221 and 229 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
“Whether the plaintiffs are not entitled to participate in the process, field candidates and canvass for votes in the forthcoming Delta State local government elections organised by the 2nd defendant, which is scheduled to hold on March 6, 2021.”
The plaintiffs prayed the court to, among other things, grant an order restraining the Delta State Electoral Commission (DSIEC) from conducting the March 6, 2021 local government elections in the state due to the exclusion of the political parties from the ballot.
“A declaration that the refusal or neglect of the 1st defendant to relist the plaintiffs in the register of political parties is unlawful, unconstitutional and constitutes a breach of the plaintiffs’ rights protected under section 40 and 221 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
“A declaration that it is unlawful and unjustifiable for the 1st and 2nd defendants to exclude the plaintiffs from the processes and proceedings of the Delta State local government elections scheduled to hold on March 6, 2021, despite the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No CA/ABJ/CV/507/2020 dated the 10th day of August, 2020.
“An order of injunction restraining the 1st defendant from releasing the register of voters to the 2nd defendant for the purpose of the conduct of local government elections in Delta State unless and until the names of the plaintiffs are relisted into the register of political parties.”
In his submission on Thursday, counsel for the political parties, Kelechi Nnadi, told the court that he only got an application late Wednesday from E. F. James-Oru, counsel for DSIEC, 2nd defendant, and needed time to study and respond.
He pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter.
The presiding judge, Federal High Court, Asaba, Justice T. B. Adegoke, after listening to the plaintiffs’ counsel, adjourned the case till February 15, 2021 for hearing.