Friday, February 26, 2016

Election petitions: Supreme Court criticises INEC for partisan role

The Supreme Court on Friday condemned what it described as recent partisan roles played by the Independent National Electoral Commission in election petition cases. A seven-man bench of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, made this observation while giving reasons for its earlier judgment affirming the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
The Supreme Court had upheld the three separate appeals by Ikpeazu, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party; and INEC, in its judgments delivered on February 3, 2016, and fixed today to give the reasons for its decision.The three appellants were all challenging the judgment of the Owerri Division of the Court of Appeal delivered on December 31, 2015, which removed Ikpeazu as governor and declared the All Progressive Grand Alliance’s governorship candidate, Dr. Alex Otti, as the rightful winner of the April 11, 2015 poll. Justice Suleiman Galadima, who read the apex court’s lead judgments in the three separate appeals, upturned the verdict of the Court of Appeal, but took a swipe at INEC while considering the commission’s appeal. He noted, “My lords, permit me to make this comment in the light of the recent events in respect of the stance of the appellant, the Independent National Electoral Commission. “In election petition, INEC, readily takes over the case of a party who lost at the court below to prosecute the appeal. “This appeal is one such example. Is INEC not expected to be neutral and discharge its duties statutory responsibilities in all electoral matters? “Why does it cry hoarse more than the bereaved? “Based on the notice of appeal, INEC should refrain from doing this as it is capable of impugning its integrity and impartiality.”

No comments:

Post a Comment