Ezeobi alleges violation of manifesto, INEC’s 2014 guidelines for registration of political parties
A lawyer and public interest advocate, Theodore Jnr. Ezeobi, has prevailed on a Federal High Court for proper explanation of the sense in the provision contained in the guidelines for the registration of political parties (2014).
The contentious matter states that the manifesto of a political party, upon submission to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration, must contain “a provision showing that its constitution and manifesto conform with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 and the guidelines.”
He asked the court to determine whether “in the course of its programme and political campaign, a registered political party, its members or sponsored candidates at the elections, may issue concurrently and/or interchangeably use any other document, howsoever called, which neither was submitted to the defendant (INEC) nor contained a provision showing that it conforms with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, but purports to be in the form, substance, semblance of promises (affecting fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy) to the electorate, referenced and associated with such political party and passed off as “manifesto” (in the context of the guidelines under review), other than its registered manifesto, submitted, verified for conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and thereafter, published by INEC via its website, to the general public.”
He also wants the court to declare that he has the constitutional right to maintain the application for himself, and in the overall interest of the general public who, according to him, share a reciprocal want for the interpretation of his summons.
He prayed: “That the concurrent issuance and/or interchangeable use of such other document(s) is a violation of the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act 2022, and guidelines for the registration of new political parties, 2014, an abuse of the electoral process, void in law, ill-advised, illegal and, of no binding effect, and so do not support the purported purpose for which it was intended.”
The sole defendant in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/39/2023 now scheduled for February 1, 2023, before Justice Aneke J., is INEC.