The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been dragged to court.
Three political appointees planning to contest elections in 2023 sued INEC and APC to prevent their disqualification on account of the provisions of Section 84(11) & (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The plaintiffs, in the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on May 11, 2022 are – Ambassador Sodique Baba Abubakar, Sodique Lawal Abubakar and Bindir Umar Buba.
Ambassador Abubakar said he serves Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Chad and intends to contest for Bauchi Governorship.
Abubakar said he serves as a Special Assistant in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and wants to contest for the House of Representatives while Buba, who is also eyeing a seat at the House of Reps, claimed to be serving as the National Coordinator, Social Investment Program in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/641/2022, filed by their lawyer, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), the plaintiffs, are praying for among others, an order declaring the APC’s directive that political appointees should resign from their respective posts as a result of section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is unconditional and therefore null and void.
The plaintiffs who said they are members of the APC, are contending that Section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is discriminatory against them and unconstitutional and therefore should not be permitted by the court to be used to disqualify them on account of their political appointments.
They stated, in a supporting affidavit, that they have obtained expression of interest forms to contest in the primaries of the APC for nomination as candidates in the coming election.
The plaintiffs stated that pursuant to signing of the Electoral Act into law, there has been threats that political appointees will be disqualified from contesting primaries of APC because of section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
They added that sections 65, 66, 107, 131, 137,;177 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution covered qualification requirements of aspirants to political posts in Nigeria.
The plaintiffs claimed that Article 2 of APC Constitution affirmed Supremacy of Nigeria’s Constitution but the same party breached the section with its directive of May 7th that all political appointees must resign 30 days before it’s primary election.
They stated that section 84 (11) and (12) are at the moment standing on their way to achieve their political ambitions and that unless,the APC and INEC are restrained from the thread, they will be prevented from participating in the primary for nomination as candidates.
The plaintiffs want the court declare as unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful the APC’s directive that political appointees must resign from their positions before they can participate as voting delegates or be voted for in the convention or primaries of the party.
They equally want an order of injunction restraining the APC and INEC either by themselves or agents from preventing, hindering or stopping them from attending, participating in party congress, convention or primaries for the purpose of voting or being voted for as candidates in the forthcoming elections and in any congress, convention or primaries.