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C/River LG polls to hold 21st September, state electoral umpire insists

By The Rainbow
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The Cross River State Electoral Independent Commission (CROSEIC) has said that it stands on the already fixed date of September the 21st for council elections across the state.

The Chairman of the Electoral body, Patrick Out, told to journalists at the Etim Bassey Press Centre Calabar, the Cross River State Capital at the weekend that the exercise had not been postponed as being bandied about by members of some political parties in the state..

According to him, political parties which shall take part in the elections are the Progressive Peoples Party (PPA), National Conscience Party (NCP),the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The chairman disclaimed rumours that the governor of the state, Liyel Imoke imposed candidates on CROSEIC and reasoned that dependence of elections management bodies on government could indeed rub on the credibility of the election process which the Commission frowns against.

A commissioner in CROSEIC, Joseph Ekpang, disclosed that in the coming week, electoral materials will be moved to the field as well as carrying out the final leg of trainig of the Adhoc staff that will participate in the exercise.

Meanwhile, the exclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been challenged by the party at the Calabar High Court.

The Suit No. HC/302/2013, challenging the disqualification of APC by CROSIEC,  was filed last week by the party's counsel, Okoi Obono-Obla, at the High Court.

The originating summons for the suit listed APC as the Claimant, while CROSIEC, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Conscience Party (NCP), Labour Party (LP) and Progressive People's Alliance (PPA) are respondents and defendants in the case.

In the suit, the APC wants the court to determine 'Whether the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are applicable to the conduct of the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria.

'Whether the provision of Section 84 (2) of the Electoral Act (supra) requires political parties that are merging to submit an application to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not later than 90 days before a general election, is applicable to the conduct of the Local Government elections in Cross River State of Nigeria.

'Whether the first defendant has the power to deny the claimant participation in the Local Government elections scheduled for the 21st September, 2013 on the ground that the Claimant was registered on July 31, and therefore not eligible to participate in the elections?'

The claimant's claim against the defendants is as follows:

'A declaration that the decision of the first defendant not to allow the claimant to participate in the Local Government Elections Scheduled for the 21st Day of September, 2013 is wrongful, illegal, wanton, capricious and unconstitutional, null and void;

'A declaration that the claimant as a registered political party in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Local Government elections scheduled for the 21st September 2013 in Cross River State of Nigeria by sponsoring or nominating candidates to contest under its platform;

'A Declaration that the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are not applicable and relevant to the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria;

'A Declaration that it is the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission Law, Cap C18, 2004 that regulates the conduct of the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria;

'A Mandatory order of injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from conducting the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria without the participation of the Claimant;

'A Mandatory Order of Injunction restraining the first Defendant from conducting the Local Government Elections in Cross River State of Nigeria without the candidates sponsored or nominated by the Claimant;

'General/Exemplary Damages of N100 million'.