By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to display the list of candidates seeking various elective positions under the Hon. Adekunle Rufai Omoaje-led faction of the Action Alliance (AA).
The court presided over by Justice Z..B. Abubakar also held that the electoral body erred by failing to give recognition to the list of candidates submitted to it by Omoaje who is the National Chairman of the AA.
Omoaje had on behalf of himself and the Action Alliance, approached the court to seek redress on the non recognition of the candidates submitted to INEC by him on behalf of the party.
By the ruling of the court, the candidates already announced by INEC including the presidential candidate, Malam Hamzat Al-Mustapha, whose names were submitted by Mr. Kenneth Udeze-led faction of the party are expected to be substituted by the list of candidates submitted by Omoaje.
Al-Mustapha had earlier been announced as the presidential candidate of the AA by INEC, having emerged the candidate of the Udeze-led faction and his name was already published on the website of the electoral body.
However, with the latest court judgment, Al-mustapha may be replaced with that of Mr Solomon David Okanigbuan who emerged the presidential candidate of the Omoaje led faction.
It would be recalled that a national daily had exclusively reported that Al-Mustapha might risk losing the AA’s presidential ticket going by the litigation against him.
Delivering his ruling on Friday, Justice Abubakar who cited section 2(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 ordered INEC to immediately publish the names and addresses of all candidates submitted by Omoaje on behalf of the AA.
“By the provision of section 29(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the INEC should publish by displaying at the relevant office or offices of INEC and on its website, the names of all candidates submitted to it by the applicant (Omoaje).”
Reacting to the judgment, Omoaje said it is a welcome development and not unexpected, as he is the recognized national chairman of the party.
He urged INEC to honour the court order and effect necessary changes on its website immediately.
Also, counsel to Omoaje, Mr Oba Maduabuchi (SAN) lauded the court for the judgement which he said, was fair and balanced.