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INEC Sued Over Non- Issuance Of Certificates Of Return To Zamfara Gov -elect, Others

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Twenty political parties in Zamfara state have dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, over refusal of the electoral body to issue Certificates of Return to the governor-elect and 24 members-elect of the Zamfara State House of Assembly.

The suit filed yesterday before the court by Barrister Ebenezer Adabaki, on behalf of the plaintiffs was marked FHC/ABJ/CS/371/19, and dated March 29th, 2019.

The plaintiffs include Hon.Zayyanu Salihu Haske, Chairman, Forum of Political Parties in Zamfara state,  governor and deputy governor elect as well as 24 members-elect in the state.

By the suit, the plaintiffs want the court to determine, “Whether having regards to the provisions of sections 133 (1) and 155 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the Supreme Court decision in the case of Okunola vs Ogundiran (1961) all NLR 394, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can question the return, refuse, refrain and or neglect to issue certificates of return to the Governor-elect and the twenty four (24) members-elect of the Zamfara State House of Assembly having been duly declared winners of the Governorship and State Assembly election held on the 9th of March, 2019.

“Whether the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend the issuance of certificates of return to the declared winners of the Governorship and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara State is not unlawful and abnegation of the lawful mandate and duties of the Defendant.

Upon the favourable determination of the above questions, the plaintiffs seek the following reliefs: “A declaration that the Defendant having pronounced in favour of the 2nd to 27th Plaintiffs that they have satisfied all the requirements of the law and declared winners of the election, has a duty to issue them with the certificates of return.

“A declaration that the Defendant is under a lawful duty to issue certificates of return to the 2nd and 27th Plaintiffs whom the Defendant declared as winners of the 9th March, 2019 Governorship and State Assembly election in Zamfara State.

“A declaration that the failure. refusal, neglect or suspension of the issuance of certificates of return to the 2nd to 27th Plaintiffs as winners of the 9th March, 2019 Governorship and State Assembly election in Zamfara State is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, ultra vires.

The plaintiffs also want an order of the court compelling the defendant to immediately issue certificates of return to the 2nd to 27th Plaintiffs being the elected governor, deputy governor and members of the House of Assembly of Zamfara State respectively without further delay.

In an affidavit deposed to by Sayyanu Haske, the deponent stated that he was aware that the Defendant had earlier scheduled the 27th March, 2019 for the presentation of certificates of return to 2nd to 27th Plaintiffs being winners of the 9th March, 2019 Governorship and State Assembly Elections in Zamfara State.

No date has been fixed for the suit.

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