Sixty-one political parties have decided to take the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over its controversial Draft Guideline for the 2019 General election, which was earlier rejected by them last week.
The suit challenging the electoral umpire’s guideline is expected to be filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, January 14, with the intention to stop INEC from releasing the guideline. Four of the party chairmen are suing on behalf of all the 61 political parties,
These are Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere (APP), Dr Sam Eke (GPN), Nsehe Nseobong (RPP) and Kenneth Udeze (AAP).
They are seeking an exparte application for an injunction to restrain Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, from proceeding on Monday with the planned release of the controversial guideline, which majority of the political parties have rejected over non-consultation, obnoxious clauses and the violation of the constitution.
Ugochinyere, in a statement, aid the parties were also asking the court to quash some sections of the draft guideline, which were in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, including “the obnoxious provisions inserted into the guideline, which will lead to massive rigging of the 2019 elections.”
He said the party chairmen were insistent that in order to have a free and fair election, the obnoxious clauses contained in the guideline, which do not promote free and fair elections must be expunged.
He also clarified that the INEC Chairman must summon an emergency meeting of the party chairmen to resolve the grey areas contained in the guidelines and prevent the 2019 election from running into a hitch and credibility crisis before the day of election.
“The parties still insist that the chairman of INEC retains the 2011 and 2015 separate accreditation and separate voting system, which Nigerian voters are fully familiar with and avoid creating confusion and loophole for massive tampering of result with the continuous/same time accreditation and voting. INEC recently tried the method in few re-runs but that is not enough to extend such voting method to all parts of the country few weeks to the election,” said Ugochinyere.
He disclosed that more party leaders are being mobilised to move against INEC chairman in the event that the commission go ahead to issue out the guideline without the input of the political parties and without removing the controversial clauses..
“The options on the table of the political parties’ chairmen will not stop on tomorrow’s court action but will include a vote of no confidence on the INEC chairman and the commission, including a call to step down and a persona non grata declaration and mass protest to alert Nigerians that the 2019 election processes have been manipulated.”