…Shifts Bayelsa, Kogi Guber Election to Nov 16 A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 General Elections, Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Malcolm Fabiyi from further parading themselves as National Chairman and the Deputy National Chairman of the party. This is coming
…Shifts Bayelsa, Kogi Guber Election to Nov 16
A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 General Elections, Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Malcolm Fabiyi from further parading themselves as National Chairman and the Deputy National Chairman of the party. This is coming just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will continue to recognise both leaders as their purported suspension did not follow due process.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order in an ex-parte ruling on a motion filed by the party’s Acting National Chairman, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, which was argued by his lawyer, Mr Emeka Ozani.
Justice Ekwo also restrained Sowore and Fabiyi from further exercising any power or function relating to the offices.
The judge equally restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from further recognizing the two in the capacities of National Chairman and Deputy National Chairman.
According to the judge, the orders made are to remain in force pending the determination of a motion on notice also filed by the plaintiff in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/512/2019.
Justice Ekwo, who ordered accelerated hearing of the substantive suit, directed that court processes be served on the 1st and 2nd defendants (Sowore and Fabiyi) through substituted means.
He also adjourned further proceedings in the case till May 28 this year.
In a supporting affidavit, the plaintiff claimed that Sowore failed to fulfil the mandatory statutory requirement of holding the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party quarterly.
The plaintiff equally claimed that Sowore allegedly received money from foreign donors and converted it for his personal uses, in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution.
Nzenwa stated that despite appeals made to him to convene the party’s NEC meeting for the various allegations against him to be discussed, he failed to do so.
The plaintiff stated that the party was compelled to adopt a resolution on March 27th, 2019 suspending Sowore and Fabiyi from the party for six months.
But in a different tune, the INEC has said it would continue to recognise Sowore as the substantive National Chairman of the party.
INEC, in a letter by its Secretary, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, dated May 14, however, said, after reviewing the request, it had found that the requirements for the Commission to recognise the meeting where the AAC NEC took the decision had not been met.
The letter read in part, “The Commission, after reviewing the content of the letter, has established the following: There is no documentary evidence that a meeting of the AAC NEC was convened by the National Chairman as required by Chapter 9 Section 59(a) of the constitution of the AAC.”
“The party did not provide a 21-day notice of the NEC meeting as required by Section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). There are no minutes or evidence of attendance of the AAC NEC meeting where the National Chairman and eight others were purportedly suspended.”
“Accordingly, the Commission shall continue to recognise and relate with Mr Sowore Omoyele as the substantive National Chairman of the AAC.”
Since the purported suspension, many of the party’s branch leadership across the country have also dissociated themselves from the move.
In another development, lNEC has shifted the date for the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship election earlier scheduled for Nov. 2 to Nov. 16.
The Commission disclosed this in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, on Thursday in Abuja.
The decision, according to Okoye, was taken at the Commission’s regular weekly meeting held on Thursday, following several appeals received by INEC from critical stakeholders from Bayelsa demanding for a change in the earlier fixed date.
“It will be recalled that on April 9, lNEC released the timetable and schedule of activities for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. The Commission fixed Nov. 2 for the elections to hold in both states.”
“However, the Commission received several appeals from Bayelsa that the election coincided with the state’s Annual Thanksgiving Day which is backed by law.”
“After a careful consideration of the appeals, the Commission at its regular weekly meeting held today Thursday May 16 decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States to Saturday Nov. 16,” he said.
Okoye added that the timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date.
According to the amended timetable and schedule of activities for the elections signed by Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the notice for the elections would be released on Aug. 17.
Collection of forms CF001 and CF002 by political parties from INEC for the elections would be on Aug. 18, while the conduct of parties primaries would hold from Aug. 18 to Sept 5, and election campaign would commenced by Aug. 18.
The Commission has also scheduled Oct. 2 as the last day for the submission of nomination forms by political parties and Nov. 14 as the last day for political campaigns.