A federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the service of hearing notice on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the exclusion of the name of African Action Congress (AAC) and its Governorship Candidate, Edith Isokpan, from the September 19th governorship election in Edo State.
The vacation Justice A.R Muhammed gave the order on Wednesday following a letter addressed to the court by the lawyer to commission seeking for the adjournment of the matter because he was indispose.
The judge granted the application for the adjournment by the defendant and ordered the court registrar to issue and serve a hearing notice on the commission in the suit.
Meanwhile, in his own submission the counsel to the applicant, Barr. O.A Otamere, had opposed the application for adjournment by the defendant considering the urgency of the matter.
He argued that the election has been slated for 19th September 2020 and there was need for accelerated hearing.
According to Otamere, “Today the counsel to the defendant wrote a letter and applied for adjournment. We opposed to that application considering the urgency of the matter, but the court in its wisdom granted the application for adjournment for the main fact that this matter was adjourned for mention.”
“Considering the fact that election is holding on the 15th of September, we have drawn the attention of his Lordship to that. However, by the relevant rules of court and practice direction, the court has 180 days to hear and determine the pre-election matter and the court is working within that time frame irrespective of the date the election has been so fixed.”
The judge therefore adjourned the matter to 15th September 2020 for hearing.
The Edo State Chairman of the party, Lawal Afeez, called on the supporters of the party to remain calm saying that justice can only be delayed but not denied.
According to him, “To me I see this to be a delay tactics to delay justice but we will continue to assure our supporters all over the world to remain calm as justice will be seen done.”
“It can only be delayed but can never be denied. We are winning this election by the grace of God.”
Recall that the electoral body excluded AAC from political parties to contest the election even after the party had successfully conducted its primary election and produced Edith Isokpan as its candidate.
The primary election which was peaceful and orderly was also witnessed by the INEC officials.
However, while releasing the list of parties approved to contest the election INEC omitted AAC from the log without any concrete explanation despite its officials being on the ground to monitor the party’s selection process.