Helen Godswill, presidential candidate of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), has instituted a legal action against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the non-publication of her name as a candidate for the forthcoming general election.
Godswill, alongside some other candidates of the party vying for election into various elective positions, filed the suit before a federal high court in Lagos.
They accused INEC of failing to publish their names as required by Section 34 of the electoral act.
Godswill personally deposed to an affidavit in support of the suit wherein she recalled that despite the fact that INEC monitored the primary election conducted by the party to select candidates for various elective positions, the commission failed to publish their names for the election.
The other applicants in the suit, who emerged as UPN candidates for election into federal house of representatives and states house of assembly, are Adewale Arogundade, Ganiyat Folawewo, Taofeek Adeniyi, Augustine Omilabu, Henry Abimbola, Olufemi Gregory, Towobola Adebowale, Eberechukwu Orehewere and Ekeata Onwordi.
Others are Chukwuma Egbukichi, Samuel Ajaka, Ganiyat Agboola, Ramota Raji, Ramon Ajanosi and Hakeem Olaribigbe.
They are specifically seeking an order directing INEC to list and publish their names as UPN candidates for the forthcoming general elections scheduled to hold on March 28 and April 11, 2015.
When the matter came up before Okon Abang, the presiding judge on Friday, lawyers to the applicants, Akinwale Ekunusi and Akin Akintola, had moved an ex-parte application seeking an order to compel INEC to publish the names of the applicants.
While moving the ex-parte application, Ekunisi said UPN submitted the names of the applicants to INEC together with their credentials, but when INEC released the names of candidates for the general election, the names of the applicants were not listed.
He added that out of all the names submitted to INEC, only that of Ogun state governorship candidate of the party was listed, a development which Ekunisi claimed brought about the suit after several attempts to make INEC rescind the decision.
But in a brief ruling, Abang converted the ex-parte application to motion on notice, saying that justice on the matter demanded that INEC be given opportunity to react to the suit before a decision is arrived at one way or the other.
“I have gone through the process filed by the applicants,” he ruled.
“If indeed INEC was furnished with the applicants’ name and yet the Commission did not enlist their names for the general election, then it is proper for rule of fair hearing to allow INEC to come and explain why the names of the applicants were not listed as alleged.”
The judge further ordered that the said motion on notice should be served on INEC on or before March 9, 2015, while the suit was adjourned to March 11, 2015 for hearing.