Posted by By Kayode Matthew on
Embattled Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Chief Simon Lalong has instituted an action at a Federal High Court Abuja praying for an order of injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Professor Maurice M. Iwu from acting on a petition for his recall from the house allegedly signed by registered voters in Shendam constituency.
ABUJA—Embattled Speaker of Plateau State House of Assembly, Chief Simon Lalong has instituted an action at a Federal High Court Abuja praying for an order of injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its chairman, Professor Maurice M. Iwu from acting on a petition for his recall from the house allegedly signed by registered voters in Shendam constituency.
In an originating summons filed by Lalong’s counsel, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN) he averred that the so-called petition for his re-call "is not signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in Shendam constituency as required by section 110(a) of the constitution and that the signatures on it are not genuine and authentic."
The speaker is also arguing that the allegation of loss of confidence on him is false and has been trumped-up while INEC has refused after several demands to make a copy of the petition available to him in accordance with the constitution. The plaintiff is also contending that he has been denied the right of fair-hearing.
In a seven paragraphs affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by one George Uwolloh, he averred that elected representatives of 19 out of the 20 wards in Shendam constituency swore to a 23 paragraphs affidavit that the alleged petition for the recall of the speaker is not signed by more than one half of the registered voters in the constituency. They also averred that the signatures on the so-called petition are not genuine but are fake and fictitious.
All the 19 elected councillors, including Henry H. Yunkwap, the majority leader in the council who swore to the affidavit, held a press conference on July 20 2005 at the NUJ press centre Jos where they all on behalf of the people of Shendam denounced the alleged petition and declared implicit confidence in the speaker as their representative.
According to the affidavit, INEC officials visited Shendam two weeks ago in a mock attempt to verify the fictitious signatures on the alleged petition but were prevented by irate protesting youths and that after three days, the INEC officials shifted their base to Jos, Plateau State capital which is outside Lalong’s constituency.
The verification of the signatures was said to be going on in Jos but that so far no one has come forward to say he or she signed for the recall.
In a related suit filed at the Federal high court Abuja by all the 21 members of Plateau State they averred that they held meetings with all the people of their respective wards where they denied signing any petition seeking the recall of Lalong or any other person for that matter.
They further said that when their respective ward constituents demanded to see a copy of the petition to verify their signatures, they proceeded to INEC office in Jos to ask for the petition but they were told by INEC officials that no such petition existed in their office and none has been sent to them by the INEC and its chairman for verification as expected.
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