- Justice Roseline Ukeje, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Nigeria, will tomorrow cast the die as to whether the President polls in Nigeria should go ahead or otherwise.
Justice Ukeje’s ruling will be based on the validity of Section 37 (1) of the Electoral Act 2006, which mandates the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the polls when a nominate candidate dies before the polls.
One of the contesting parties for the 21 Presidential polls, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), whose candidate, Chief Adebayo Adefarati, died at 78, reportedly asked the INEC to apply its powers conferred on Section 37 (1) of the Electoral Act 2006 to shift the date of the polls.
However, INEC and the Federal government teamed up at the high court, arguing that Section 37 contradicts the provisions of the 1999 constitution. They therefore asked the court to strike out the case.
AD officials have refused to appear in court to defend their case, despite being served to do so, which according to Justice Ukeje, manifested their lack of interest in the case.
Officials of INEC said the 1999 constitution only mandated them to extend the date of nomination of candidates when a nominated candidate dies before the polls. The INEC is empowered to postpone the polls only if the country is at war.
Meanwhile, the AD has replaced its dead candidate by Pere Ajunwa who was selected at the party’s special convocation in the capital Abuja. Since then his name the party wrote to the INEC asking them to replace him with Chief Adefarati.
Interestingly, the AD officials denied asking INEC to shift the poll upon the death of their candidate.
Political experts rule out AD as a threat to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Oumar Yar’Adua, PDP candidate and Muhammadu Buhari of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) are predicted as favourites in the 21 April polls.
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