2023 Presidential Election: AA drags INEC, 3 others to court seeking nullification
By: Femi Mustapha
The Action Alliance, (AA) and it’s presidential candidate in the recent concluded 2023 election, Mr. Solomon David Okanigbuan, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (retd) before the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja.
In a petition No. CA/PEPC/01/2023 the petitioners stated that the party was excluded from the election, the candidate and the party could not and did not mobilize its supporters which are against the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that stated that it is only the party and not the 1st Respondent (INEC), that has the right to nominate candidates.
The Party added that INEC unlawfully excluded the presidential candidate of the party, Mr. Solomon Okanigbuan from the said election and rather imposed a certain Hamza Al-Mustapha as the candidate of the 1st Petitioner when the said Hamza Al-Mustapha is not a member of the 1st Petitioner, and was never sponsored by the 1st Petitioner.
The 1st Petitioner added that in order to get its lawful candidate enlisted on the ballot paper, it approached the Federal High Court Abuja in Suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1759/2022 ACTION ALLIANCE Vs. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION for an order that the candidates be accepted.
The 1st Petitioner further added that the Court on 4th of November, 2022 delivered its Judgment and in it directed the Independent National Electoral Commissions to include the names of the 1st Petitioner’s candidates as candidates in the election of February 25, 2023. The order was served on the 1st Respondent.
“That the service of that solemn order of the Federal High Court did not persuade the 1st Respondent to include the candidates of the 1st Petitioner.
“The 1st Petitioner still in an effort to avert this present proceedings, wrote a letter of protest to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, the Chairman of INEC, the National Security Adviser, the Senate President, the Speaker, House of Representatives and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation pleading that its candidate be included in the polls.
“That the various authorities’ offices and persons to whom the letters were forwarded expressed concerns that the action of the 1st Respondent was a time bomb capable of derailing the entire democratic process as unlawful exclusion is a very serious and irredeemable omission or occurrence.
“That in reaction the 1st Respondent invited the Chairman of the 1st Petitioner to attend a meeting of reconciliation to explore ways of managing the situation. The letter was dated the 17th day of February, 2023 and the meeting was scheduled for the 20th day of February, 2023 at J. K. Gadzama Court Damaturu Crescent, Abuja.
“That the meeting held and the 1st Respondent then proposed that the National Executive of the Party Honourable Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje and his executive should be recognized as the authentic National Chairman of the Party Action Alliance while the candidates whose names had already been uploaded, but who were not produced through primaries organized by the Omo-Aje led Executive should be retained as the Candidate of the Party.
“That this was not acceptable as by the Electoral Act only candidates who emerged through valid primaries could contest the elections. The meeting was thus stalemated and the 1st Respondent then conducted the elections without the Presidential Candidate of the 1st Petitioner.
“Therefore, the Petitioners pray that it be determined that the 3rd Respondent was not validly elected and/or returned as the winner of the Presidential Election held in Nigeria on the 25th day of February, 2023 and his declaration as winner and his return is void as the 2nd Petitioner was validly nominated and sponsored by the 1st Petitioner as its Presidential Candidate at the said election but was unlawfully excluded from the election in flagrant