Court nullifies Ebonyi local elections

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A Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Thursday, nullified the local government elections recently conducted in the state. Easterner reported that the election was conducted on 30 July by the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC). Jossy Eze, the EBSIEC chairperson, had declared the candidates of the All Progressives Congress as winners of all the chairmanship and councillorship seats in the elections. But the court, in the Thursday ruling, nullified the exercise.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenged the outcome of the exercise, accusing the electoral commission and the Ebonyi State Government of failing to comply with Section 150 of the Electoral Act 2022, among other infractions. The judge, Fatun Riman, held that the conduct of the election was undemocratic and unlawful and therefore declared it void, the Easterner reported. The development came barely six days before the swearing-in of the newly elected council chairmen and councillors, which was billed to hold on 1 September.

Counsel to the PDP (plaintiff), Mudi Erhenedi, who spoke to reporters shortly after the ruling, commended the court for upholding justice in the state.

“If you look at it, how do you access compliance without law if you hide the law with which you want to conduct the election,” he said.

“Is it not when you make the law public that we will know whether you complied with it or not, how can you be making laws and hiding them,” Mr Erhenedi added.

“My position now is that my clients demanded to be availed of this law (that guided the conduct of the election).”

Mr Erhenedi said the plaintiff had written to relevant authorities in the state, including members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly, raising concerns about the infractions in the conduct of the exercise. Roy Nweze, counsel to the defendant, did not respond to calls seeking comments from him on the ruling.

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