The Federal High Court, sitting in Abakaliki, yesterday, voided the Local Government Area election conducted by Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission, EBSEIC, in the state.
The election, which was conducted on July 30, 2022, has been causing lots of ripples and disagreements among the opposition political parties, even as they argued that the election was conducted without following due process of law and provisions of the new Electoral Act, 2022.
The plaintiffs in the matter were Otu Collins Eleri, Nelson Eze, Alaa Ikechukwu, Michael Ali and Isu Amechi, while the defendants included the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission and government of Ebonyi State.
The Presiding Judge, Fatun Riman, in a suit No. FHC/AI/CS/151/2022, ruled that the conduct of the Ebonyi local government election was undemocratic and unlawful and, therefore, declared it null and void.
Addressing Newsmen, the Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Mudi Erenede declared that “it is undemocratic and unlawful to conduct an election into the local government areas or council elections without availing the plaintiffs with the exact law that is meant to regulate the exercise.”
According to him: “There are lots of other issues, which did not comply with the Electorial Act 2022.
“The electoral act 2022 said the procedures for conducting elections into the local government areas by state commissioners must comply with that procedure for conducting into area councils in the FCT.
“If you look at it, how do you access compliance without law if you hide the law with which you want to conduct the election. Is it not when you make the law public that we will know whether you complied with it or not? How can you be making laws and hiding them?
“My position now is that my clients demanded to be availed of this law. We came under the freedom of information act. We wrote to EBSIEC, we wrote the House of Assembly, we wrote to INEC whose responsibilities all of these bodies refused to provide with the law.” Reacting, the State Government, through Chooks Oko, the SA to Governor David Umahi on (Media & Strategy) argued that “it is on record that none of the grounds of the litigants included nullification of the election but the court bizarrely came up with such an order.”