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Six parties demand cancellation of more results in Bayelsa governorship poll

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INEC• INEC asks court to dismiss party’s suit
TWO weeks after the results from Southern Ijaw local council was cancelled in the Bayelsa State governorship election, six political parties that participated in the poll have demanded for a cancellation of results from more councils in the state.

They demanded for the cancellation of polls in other parts of the state where results were disputed, especially Sagbama, Nembe, Ekeremor, Ogbia and Yenagoa local councils.

The six parties, under the aegis of Coalition of Progressive Parties, declared that apart from the contentious Southern Ijaw, there was widespread violence and malpractices in some other councils.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday prayed the Federal High Court, Abuja Division to dismiss the action instituted by Hope Democratic Party (HDP), challenging the validity of the conduct of the Bayelsa State governorship election of December 5, 2015.

In a preliminary objection filed by INEC’s counsel, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN) against the action of HDP, INEC submitted that the said political party’s action was “grossly incompetent by reason of non-compliance with Rule 10 (1) (2) and (3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007.”

The parties, namely Unity Party of Nigeria, African Congress of Democrats, Alliance for Democracy, Labour Party, United Democratic Party and Hope Democratic Party, told newsmen in a press conference in Yenagoa, the state capital yesterday that the call became necessary in the interest of fair play, justice and peace.

Spokesman for the group and Chairman, UPN, Mr. Silas Ikimi, said that if the poll at Southern Ijaw should be cancelled, it was rite that that of Sagbama, Nembe and Ekeremor polls should also be treated same.
“Let us not forget the age-long saying that, ‘what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’. If the votes from the widely acclaimed violence-prone Southern Ijaw are cancelled, it is only fitting and proper that the results from
Nembe, Sagbama, Ekeremor and parts of Yenagoa and Ogbia councils should also not have been left out.
“There were worse cases of election violence in those areas than were least experienced in Southern Ijaw. As the candidate for the All Progressives Congress, Chief Timipre Sylva, pointed out, the Independent National Electoral Commission should be an unbiased umpire for all the parties.”

Specifically, INEC said the suit by Hope Democratic Party was commenced in contravention of section 2 (a) of the Public Officers Protection Act having been filed more than three months after the action being complained against was done.
Consequently, the electoral body prayed Justice Evoh Chukwu to strike out the suit for lacking merit and substance.

INEC disputed the claim of HDP that it intended to participate in the Bayelsa governorship election claiming that the party neither held primary election to nominate candidate nor submitted name of any candidate to it.

The electoral body dismissed the claim of HDP that its candidate was excluded in the election because it never submitted any name in the first instance.

INEC also averred that the right of a political party to participate in the election being conducted by it was circumscribed by the Electoral Act 201 in sections 87 and 31 of the Act.
It therefore urged the court to either strike out the suit or dismisses it outrightly.
Hearing of the motions comes up today.


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