2023: Court voids INEC’s exclusion of APC Reps candidate, Wakili in Adamawa


 

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday voided the exclusion of a House of Representatives candidate for Fufore/Song Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, Boya Aliu Wakili from the 2023 election.

The exclusion carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC against the politician was set aside on grounds of illegality, injustice and a breach of fundamental rights of the candidate.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, ordered INEC to immediately upload into its portal the name of the candidate having been found to have been unjustly excluded from the list of successful candidates published by the electoral body for the next year general election.

Delivering judgment in a suit instituted by the candidate, Justice Egwuatu held that INEC has no power to punish or suffer Wakili for the network failure suffered by the electoral body when his name was to be uploaded.

Wakili through his lawyer, Yemi Pitan, had dragged INEC, APC and Abdullahi Adamu before the court challenging the refusal of INEC to publish his name for the House of Representatives election as required by law.

He claimed to have won the primary election conducted by APC for the Fufore/Song Federal Constituency, monitored by INEC’s representatives and his name duly submitted to INEC by APC on June 15, during the required period.

The plaintiff informed the court that he was shocked on June 24 when he found that his name was missing in the list of uploaded candidates by INEC and that upon inquiry, he was informed that it was due to network failures.

Wakili alleged that all efforts to make INEC correct itself were resisted with INEC insisting that only court order can make it do so.

But INEC in its defense admitted that Wakili’s name was submitted but could not be uploaded into its portal during the period stipulated by law due to severe network failure suffered by the electoral body.

Having not been uploaded during the period, the electoral body said it opted to exclude him unless on express order of a competent court.

INEC through its counsel Mr Hassan Mohammed urged the court to uphold the decision of his client.

However in his judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu described the defense of INEC as funny and rejected it.

The Judge held that the action of INEC was a breach to fundermental rights of the plaintiff who has valid interest and entitled to have his name uploaded and published as a candidate for the House of Representatives election.

Justice Egwuatu subsequently ordered that all rights, privileges and recognition be accorded the plaintiff for the purpose of the 2023 general election.

The Judge, however, refused to award monetary compensation in favour of the plaintiff as damages or cost of litigation.

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