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Bayelsa Poll: 12 traditional rulers sue INEC, AGF over alleged disenfranchisement

Source: pointblanknews.com
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Traditional rulers in Southern Ijaw Area of Bayelsa State have dragged the

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over alleged

disefranchisement during the December 5th and 6th governorship election in

the area.
Also joined in the suit with No. YHC/121m/2015 is the Attorney General of

the Federation and Minister of Justice.
In a motion on notice filed at the Yenagoa High Court, the plaintiff,

behalf of twelve royal fathers, described their exclusion as

unconstitutional and a breach of right.
According to them, the first failed in its constitional reponsibility of

providing relevant election materials that would have assisted in the

conduct of free, fair and credible polls.
The plaintiff prayed the court to declare as follows; a declaration that

he, as a duly registered voter in Ward 12, polling unit 11 (Alegbebiri,

Tamakunu Primary school) in Eniwari community, Southern Ijaw local

government area of Bayelsa state has a right to vote in the state

gubernatorial elections, initially slated for 5th December and later

rescheduled for December 6th.
He also prayed for an order directing the first respondent to ensure that

voting materials are made available at the Applicant’s Polling unit 11 to

enable the Applicant exercise his right to vote in an environment devoid

of insecurity.
The reliefs also include the following:
A declaration that the 1st respondent has a duty to make elecoral

materials available in the Applicant’s polling unit 11 for the yet to be

rescheduled Bayelsa governorship election.
A declaration that the the 2nd Respondent has a duty to ensure that the

Applicant exercises his right to vote in an environment that is devoid of

violence and insecurity.
Buttressing his argument with relevant sections of the constitution as

related to the suit, the plaintiff posited that the legal action was

instituted to seek redress over the respondents failure to provide an

environment devoid of violence and insecurity in line with Article 13(1)

of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and

Enticement) Act Cap. A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and

Article 21 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Fielding questions from newsmen in Yenagoa on the development, Counsel to

the Applicant, Mr Nicholas Obhiseh, said his client has met the necessary

requirements as regards filing processes and was awaiting a date for

hearing.
He said, “The processes have been filed. We are awaiting the Judge’s

discretion to fix a date for the hearing and I think in the next one week,

the hearing proper will come forth. This is apolitical. This is not from

APC so that the Government should not see us as opposition. This is also

not from the PDP so APC will not see the Chiefs as if they are supporting

the other side.
“It is a way of also protesting that they have been deprived of their

right to vote and therefore, they are seeking redress by way of legal

justice, which I think is guaranteed in the Constitution of this country

and by virtue of the African Charter on Human Rights, which Nigeria is a

party to.”
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