Justice Folashade Ogunbiyi-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has voided then exclusion of Ms. Natasha Akpoti in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.
The judge said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was wrong to have excluded the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Akpoti in the coming governorship election in Kogi State.
Justice Ogunbiyi-Giwa in a judgment held that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it is the exclusive preserve of a competent court of law.
The provisions of Sections 31(1) and 83 of the Electoral Act which holds that INEC cannot disqualify or reject any candidate nominated by a political party for an election is aimed at ensuring that it does not lie within the executive realm of INEC to determine who participates in an election, she noted, adding that the intention of the law is to make it a truly unbiased umpire.
The judge accordingly granted reliefs one to seven of the plaintiffs and ordered INEC to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the SDP, as well as the party’s logo on the ballot in the November 16 governorship poll in Kogi State.
Akpoti, her Deputy, Adams Khalid, and the SDP had approached the court to challenge their exclusion from the election by INEC.
The commission had refused to accept the candidature of Khalid in replacement of the earlier nominated Deputy Governor, Mohammed Yakubu on the grounds that Yakubu was not qualified in the first place to be fielded as a deputy governorship candidate in the election on account of his age.