A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the nomination of candidates of the Labour Party (LP) in 24 states for the 2023 general elections.
Justice Inyang Ekwo on Thursday, while delivering judgment in the suits filed by LP to challenge the non-recognition of its candidates in 24 states, held that INEC violated sections 31, 33, and 36 of the Electoral Act 2022 in rejecting the party’s candidates in the affected states on the ground of non-functioning of its nomination portal.
The judge, therefore, ordered INEC to accept the list of candidates in the 24 states either manually or through its electronic nomination portal.
Some of the 24 states affected by the court order are Kwara, Plateau, Nasarawa, Lagos, Kaduna, Oyo, Benue, Bauchi, Ebonyi, and Ekiti.
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The party had, last November, conducted substitution nominations for its candidates who withdrew from the 2023 general elections in the affected states.
The withdrawals were communicated to INEC by the national chairman and national secretary of the party along with notification of the October 27 date to conduct substitution nomination primary elections.
However, at the point of uploading the fresh candidates’ names, INEC claimed that its nomination portal was faulty and declined to accept the candidates’ list manually, prompting the 24 legal actions.
Justice Ekwo agreed with the Labour Party that nomination and submission of the candidates’ list cannot be rejected by INEC from any party until 90 days before the general elections.