By Innocent Anaba
ABUJA— A Federal High Court in Abuja has held that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was not obligated to give the Voters’ Register to the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission, EDSIEC, for elections, as this would amount to supporting an illegality.
The court noted that the elections were those under the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment Law 2017 (as amended in 2022).
It restrained INEC from handing over the voters’ register covering all the LGA in Edo State for the conduct of elections under both laws, but added a caveat that “it shall be in place until the inconsistency in the Edo State Electoral Law is amended and falls in line with the Electoral Act 2022.”
Trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, while ruling in the suit six members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said: “The reduction in the number of days for the purpose of election by the Edo State. House of Assembly not being in tandem with the Electoral Act, 2022 is hereby declared null and void.”
The first to sixth plaintiffs are Irene Enike Sylvester, Ayoboh Francis, Edogun Toyin, Ogioba Kelvin, Alekhooje Isumekhai and Akharumeh Benjamin.
The first to seventh defendants are INEC, Attorney-General of Edo State, EDSIEC, Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, the Clerk, Edo State House Of Assembly, PDP and PDP Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
chairman from participating in or fielding any candidate in the proposed Local Government election in Edo State planned for April 19, 2022, by EDSIEC under both laws.
The court also restrained PDP, Ayu and their privies from allowing any person being the product of the EDSIEC predicated both laws which provides for the holding of election within 15 days from the date of publication of notice for the conduct of election from participating in the primaries/congresses/convention of the PDP.
The plaintiffs were desirous of contesting election as counsellors in the LG planned by EDSIEC for April 19, 2022, and bought their nomination forms from the PDP.