By Divine Sam
Ahead of the forthcoming Local Government Elections in Akwa Ibom State.
The young progressive party has summoned the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission with regards to the Provisions of Section 19 of the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission Law (AKISIEC LAW 2007), and Section 9(1) – (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) on one hand, and the Supreme Court decision in INEC & ANOR VS. MURI EDT ETIM ASUQUO & 3 ORS. (2018) LPELR-SC.311/2014 on the other hand, the defendant has the powers to create/realign unilaterally, thirty-nine (39) electoral wards spread across the 31 local government councils of the state.
Addressing journalist recently the state chairman of the party Ambassador Kelvin Ubong Umoh who addresses a world press conference, during the media interaction throws some question to the state electoral commissioner, noting that if the answer to the above question is NEGATIVELY GIVEN, whether the defendant can proceed to conduct election into the purportedly created/re-aligned electoral wards in the 31 local government councils of the state without the fulfillment of conditions precedent thereto by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said whether in view of Section 19 of the AKISIEC Law 2007 read along with Sections 103, 104(1) and (2), 106(1) (a-e) and 107 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the revised guidelines for the 2020 local government elections as issued and published by the defendant on 30th July 2020 with requirements as to payment of processing fees by candidates to the election, is not in conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and as such is of no consequence whatsoever, on the basis of such inconsistency.
He said where the resolution of question 3 above attracts an AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE, whether the defendant is an executive agency of the state government, has any powers whatsoever to disqualify the 1st claimant and/or any candidate sponsored by it from participating in the forthcoming local government elections in Akwa Ibom State on account of non-payment of the so-called “processing fees” as stipulated in the revised guidelines and were so disqualified, whether same is not liable to be set aside.
Upon the determination of the above questions, we are seeking the following reliefs:
Amb. Kelvin Umoh made a declaration that the defendant lacks the powers to create/re-align wards in the 31 local government councils comprising Akwa Ibom State, other than the role assigned to it by the third schedule to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), Part 2 paragraph B (4b) thereof.
Also declared that the defendant not being lawfully empowered to unilaterally create and/or re-align electoral wards in the state, lacks the power to conduct the election in those newly created wards for the purposes of producing councilors therefrom and any election purportedly conducted thereat, remains a nullity.
He equally declared that the purported creation and/or re-alignment of the thirty-nine (39) electoral wards in the state as contained in its paid advertorial in the Pioneer Newspaper of July 27-28th 2020, is unlawful, void, and of no consequence whatsoever.
The state chairman also challenges that the defendant has no powers whatsoever under any extant law to disqualify and/or screen out any political party or its Candidate(s) on account of non-payment of any fee to it and as such any disqualification in that regard, remains null and void.
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