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Sowore Sues BON, Election Debate Group

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The African Action Congress (AAC) and its presidential candidate, Mr Omoyele Sowore, yesterday sued the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) for excluding the party in the 2019 presidential and vice presidential election debates.

In a suit No: CV/652/18 filed at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, Abuja, AAC is asking the court to compel the organisers of the debate to include its presidential candidate in the upcoming 19 January, 2019 presidential debate.

AAC vice presidential candidate, Dr Rabiu Rufai and others were sidelined in last week’s vice presidential debate organised by BON and the Nigerian Election Debate Group.

But in the case filled by the national legal adviser of the party, Barr Inibehe Effiong, AAC frowned at what it described as the deployment of the state apparatus to the disadvantage of its candidate.

While praying the court to stop the debate until their political party is allowed to participate in the 19 January 2019 presidential election debate, AAC said it should also be applied to any other date fixed or any other election debate.

The party is also seeking for a declaration that all registered political parties in Nigeria including the AAC are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to be treated equally, fairly and without discrimination during electioneering campaigns.

“Deployment of state media apparatus including the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Radio Nigeria and Voice of Nigeria by the organisers of the debate to the advantage of five selected political parties and the disadvantage of the AAC and Mr Sowore, is contrary to section 100 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,” Effiong said.

Effiong who asked the court to declare that the  AAC and Sowore are entitled to equal media time to participate in the 19 January, 2019 presidential debate to propagate the manifesto of the AAC, as provided for in section 100 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, 6 edition, 2016, asked for an order restraining the NEDG, BON and its chairman from organising or holding the 19 January, 2019 presidential debates without including the AAC and Sowore amongst the participating parties and candidates.

LEADERSHIP reports that several documents and affidavits, including nine exhibits were filed accompanying the suit. A date is yet to be fix for the hearing.

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