Local Government Council Elections: APC Drags Akwa Ibom State Government, AKISIEC to Court
…Demands annulment of Mrs. Gloria Ukpong’s appointment as Chairman, AKISIEC
July 18, 2017 | National | TheCalendar
The All Progressives Congress (APC) today formally instituted legal action aimed at indefinitely postponing the proposed Local Government Council elections billed for the 11th November, 2017 and annulling the appointment of Mrs. Gloria Ukpong as the Chairman of the Commission, among other reliefs.
In the Originating Summons registered as HU/245/2017 and filed by Chief Victor Iyanam, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the following questions were posed for the determination of the Court:
1. Whether the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) can legitimately conduct elections into the 31 Local Government Councils of Akwa Ibom State without meeting the following Conditions Precedent set down by the Electoral Act 2010 and the AKISIEC Law:
a) Updating of the Voters Register and making same available to the Plaintiffs, in accordance with Section 15 of the Electoral Act, 2010;
b) Publication of a Timetable prescribing a comprehensive programme in accordance with sections 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act, 2010;
c) The publication and transmission to the Plaintiffs of the names and addresses, within 60 days, of registered voters, in accordance with the provisions of Section 10(3) of the Electoral Act.
d) The issuance and publication by AKISIEC of Guidelines to political parties as provided for in Section 10(1)(c) of AKISIEC Law.
2. Whether the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) can legitimately schedule the Local Government Council elections to hold on the 11th November, 2017, by its already published Notice therefor, without offending Section 108(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 and the Local Government Administration Law of Akwa Ibom State, stipulating that elections should be conducted at least 60 days to the end of the tenure of the holder of the office.
3. Whether the Government of Akwa Ibom State can legitimately appoint the second Defendant to the office of the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) for a second/third term in contravention of Section 2(3) of AKISIEC law providing for a single term of 5 years for the Chairman and members of the Commission and whether the said 2nd Defendant can competently preside over meetings of the 1st defendant and subsequently order the issuance of any Notices pursuant to the conduct of any elections.
4. Whether the defendants, particularly the 1st Defendant can competently issue the directives contained in its Notice of Election, that only political parties who register with it within 14 days that will be allowed to sponsor candidates for election; in breach of sections 31(1) and 98 of the Electoral Act, 2010 entitling all registered Political Parties to sponsor candidates and to be in the ballot for the elections.
The All Progressives Congress also sought the following reliefs from the Court:
1. A DECLARATION that the Notice issued by the Defendants and preparations pursuant thereto; for the conduct of Local Government elections and scheduled for the 11th November, 2017 is incompetent, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever;
2. A DECLARATION that the conditions precedent to the legitimate conduct of Local Government Council elections pursuant to the Electoral Act 2010 and the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2007 have not been met by the Defendants and consequently the Notice dated 28th June, 2017 is incompetent, and liable to be set aside;
3. AN ORDER of injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, privies or assigns from carrying into effect the Notice for the conduct of elections complained of and setting aside the programme for the proposed Local Government elections of the 11th November, 2017
4. An order of this Honourable Court annulling the appointment of the 2nd Defendant as Chairman of the 1st Defendant purportedly made pursuant to the AKISIEC Law, Akwa Ibom State.
Citing several legal authorities to buttress their points, the APC insisted that the Notice of elections could not be valid and the elections could not legitimately hold. They insisted that Mrs Gloria Umoren’s continued reappointment was a despicable act of impunity given that she was only entitled to a 5 year tenure and no more. The Plaintiffs expressed disappointment that she was being appointed for a third term in office for a position where the law recognised only one term.
Chief Victor Iyanam is leading a team of Lawyers comprising Tom Udonsek, Esq., Joe Ukpong, Esq., Solomon Etuk, Esq., Iquo Minima, Mrs., Emms Ekongson, Esq., Anieti Etuk, Esq., Ubong Offiong, Esq. and Effiong Oquong, Esq. Other Plaintiffs are Dr. Ahmadu Attai, State Chairman of the APC and Dr. Effiong Etok, State Secretary of the Party. No date has been fixed for hearing yet.