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Youíre irresponsible, AC slams INEC over Atiku

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2007/03/15 | Views: 989 |

Youíre irresponsible, AC slams INEC over Atiku


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of behaving irresponsibly and recklessly by refusing to put the Action Congress (AC) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar on the ballot paper until the court makes a definite pronouncement on the issue of his qualification.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of behaving irresponsibly and recklessly by refusing to put the Action Congress (AC) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar on the ballot paper until the court makes a definite pronouncement on the issue of his qualification.

The party was reacting to Tuesdayís press conference by INEC Commissioner, Phillip Umeadi.

"Through its action, INEC has made an irrevocable determination of all issues regarding Atikuís eligibility to contest Aprilís presidential election, thus prejudging all cases pending before properly-constituted courts of law in the land," AC said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.

The party said apart from pre-empting the decision of those courts, INECís decision was also in total disregard of a subsisting judgment of another court, which had set aside the report upon which the purported indictment of Atiku was based.

"It is of course absurd to argue as INEC has done that Atiku was not party to the case and therefore cannot benefit therefrom," it said, adding: "The clear fact is that the PTDF report was nullified in its entirety. Therefore, anything based on it must collapse regardless of who or what is involved."
AC said the PTDF report could not be dead for a purpose and alive for another.

"We must also note that the judgement of Justice B.O. Kuewumi is clear and unambiguous. It says that INEC has no power under the Constitution or the Electoral Act (our emphasis) to disqualify the candidate.

"Moreover, Section137 (I) of the Constitution which INEC is relying upon is not self executory, it must be invoked by someone in court and the court must pronounce on it one way or the other," the party said.
It described as an exercise in pure semantics and mischief, Umeadiís statement that while the commission could not disqualify, it could "exclude".
"We, therefore, call on all our supporters nationwide to remain calm as all our candidates, especially our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will definitely contest the April elections," AC said.

Insisting that Atiku would contest the April presidential election, the AC said a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, and presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi, was unequivocal in stating where the power to disqualify any candidate lies. According to the party, "Justice Bas Kuewumi addressed this issue in his judgement by submitting that section 137 (for president) and 182 (for governor) of the constitution also contains provisions that ab-initio disqualifies an intending candidate aspiring to the office of president and governor respectively.

"Commenting specifically on where lies the power of disqualifying candidates for the election, Justice Kuewumi, in granting the sixth relief sought by the AC and vice president, Atiku Abubakar stated as follows. "The power to disqualify any candidate sponsored by any political party, including the 1st plaintiff (AC) from contesting any election is vested in the courts as provided for in section 32(5) of the Electoral Act 2006 and in any other legislation that is validly enacted in that behalf.

"The judgement is therefore, clear, unequivocal and specific about who has the powers to disqualify candidates for election. The mischief that it is the constitution and not INEC, which purportedly disqualifies Vice President Abubakar from the election, is therefore, a strange imputation into the Nigerian legal system that is clearly an invitation to anarchy. Or is INEC inviting aggrieved candidates to sue the constitution?"

Although, INEC has challenged the court ruling, the AC described it as a fruitless exercise and a waste of tax-payers money.
The AC affirmed that it is only the court that has the authority to disqualify any candidate from contesting any elections, expressing optimism that come May 29, Atiku would be sworn-in as the president of the country.

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Comments (2)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown