December 2, 2014

Court nullifies Ebonyi LGA election

…as Ebonyi govt orders Council chairmen, Councillors to vacate office
By Peter Okutu

ABAKALIKI – A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki,  Tuesday,  nullified the Local Government elections conducted by the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, EBSIEC, on 5th Oct, 2013 across the thirteen (13) Local Government Areas of the state.

The court in a suit filed by one of the aspirant,Mr. Alieze Nwekpa ruled that the open ballot system used in the conduct of the election was inconsistent with the electoral act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The presiding judge, Justice Maureen Onyenetu further ruled that Ebonyi State House of Assembly which adopted Open Ballot system for the election acted utra-vires,adding that the amendment of the Local government electoral act by the House for the exercise was unconstitutional.

The judge noted that the plaintiff has the locus-standi to file the suit against the claim of the counsel to Ebonyi State House of Assembly that he has no right to do so.

The judge therefore,restrained EBSIEC,the 4th defendant from using the Open Ballot system to conduct local government elections in the state and set aside the local government elections conducted 5th October, 2013.

In a swift reaction, the counsel to the plaintiff, Barr. Ikechukwu Agbo who took over from the earlier counsel, Barr. M.Odoh,commended the court for the judgment.

When contacted, the Commissioner for Local  Government, Chieftaincy matters and rural development, Mr Celestine Nwali said the government has directed that banks should not honour any cheaque from the sacked chairmen.

Following, the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, presided by Onyenetu J. nullifying the local government elections conducted in the State in October, 2013, Ebonyi State government yesterday directed the defunct 13 local government Chairmen and their Councillors to vacate their offices on Tuesday, 2nd Dec, 2014.