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February 4, 2023

5 Days to Swearing in: Court Sacks Ebonyi Chairmen Elect

Read Time:2 Minute, 40 Second

Ruth Oginyi

The Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki Thursday 25/8/2022, nullify the Local government areas election conducted by the Ebonyi government independent electoral commission (EBSIEC) in July 2022 for non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and for making the Laws under which it was conducted secret.

EBSIEC conducted a council election for the 13 council areas and 171 ward councilors on July 30th, 2022 with APC winning all the seats.

The chairmen were to be sworn in on September 1st, 2022.

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Otu Collins Eleri, Hon Nelson Eze, Akaa Ikechikwu, Engr Micheal Ali, and Engr Isu Amaechi had dragged the electoral umpire EBSIEC and the government to court for not giving all the aspirants a level playing ground during the election.

The presiding judge Justice Fatun Riman in Suit No: FHC/AI/CS/151 said It is undemocratic and unlawful to conduct an election in the local government areas or council without availing the plaintiffs of the exact law that is meant to regulate the exercise.

Council to the plaintiffs’ Bar Mudiaga Erhenede while speaking said the processes that produced the chairmen was not transparent.

Mudi said, “There are a lot of other issues with not compliance with the electoral act 2022.

“The electoral act 2022 said the procedures for conducting elections in 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 it intending the procedure to conduct elections, we wrote to EBSIEC, we wrote the House of Assembly, and we wrote to INEC whose responsibilities all of these bodies refused to provide us the law.

Meanwhile,e Ebonyi Government has reacted to the Thursday court judgment and said the state Lawyers shall study the judgment to determine the best way forward.

The statement issued by Chooks Oko
SA to the Governor (Media & Strategy) urged Ebonyians to remain law abiding while the law takes its course.

The statement read, “The attention of the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr David Umahi has been drawn to the curious ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki Thursday nullifying July 30, 2022, Local Government elections held across the state.

“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.

“The election generally acknowledged as peaceful and orderly, produced our incoming leaders at the local government level having followed all laid-down procedures to the letter.

“Being law-abiding, the Governor enjoins all Ebonyians to go about their businesses peacefully while our Lawyers study the judgment to determine the best way forward.

“His belief in the judiciary as the bastion of justice and equity remains unshaken”.

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