Lawyer sues INEC over failure to conduct NASS bye election
By Chuwang Dungs
A human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Bilyaminu Maihanchi, on Wednesday, instituted an action against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its failure to conduct the bye election for Jalingo, Yorro and Zing federal constituency.
The constituency seat became vacant after the member elected to represent the constituency, Yushua Maihanchi, died on April 22, 2023, before the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 13, 2023.
The plaintiff, in the suit he lodged before the Federal High Court, Jalingo division, cited INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, as defendants.
In the sole issue he set out for the court to determine, the plaintiff argued that the electoral body denied the people of the constituency representation by not conducting the bye election as stipulated by the constitution.
“A declaration that the failure of the 2nd Defendant conduct bye-election in the Jalingo, Yorro and Zing Federal Constituency since the death of the elected member Maihanchi on the 21st day of April 2023 is violation of the provision of section 76(2) of the Constitution of Nigeria.
Placing reliance on Section 14 (2) c of the Constitution of Nigeria and as guaranteed by the provisions of Article 13(1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, LFN 1990, the lawyer prayed the court to determine whether the refusal of INEC to conduct the election “is an infringement of the rights of the people of Jalingo, Yorro and Zing to participate freely in the government of this country through freely chosen representatives.
He urged the court to direct INEC to conduct bye-election into Jalingo, Yorro and Zing federal constituency within 30 days in order to forestall further breach of the constitution.
Mr Maihanchi also prayed to the court to issue a perpetual order of injunction restraining the Defendants from further breach of the constitutional rights of the people of Jalingo, Yorro and Zing federal constituency and for such further order(s) as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.
In an affidavit he deposed to in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that as a legal practitioner, he has an obligation to ensure that public institutions “entrusted with constitutional powers to conduct elections, do so strictly in compliance with the law.”
“My lord, it goes without saying that a court of law cannot close its eyes to the infringement of the Constitution as it is the primary custodian of the Constitution. We refer my lord to AKINMADE V. AJAYI (2008) 34 NWLR (PT. 175) 187 and INAKOJU V. ADELEKE (2008) 30 WRN 1 AT 136; LP & ORS V. OTATORO (2016) LPELR-40135(CA) P.15 PARAS C-D.”
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the suit to be heard.
Support DAYLIGHT REPORTERS’ to grow in its strive and commitment to promote credible, balanced and accurate journalism.
By contributing to DAYLIGHT REPORTERS, you are helping to sustain unbiased, credible, balanced and accurate news platform that is free and accessible to all.