Paul Akomolehin, Lokoja –
A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja has dismissed a suit filed by Kogi House of Assembly Speaker, Matthew Kolawole seeking to be recognized as the House of Representatives candidate of the All-Progressive Congress (APC) for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency in the 2023 general elections.
The speaker’s name got missing at the INEC portal when the lists of candidates of all the political parties were released for the 2023 general election.
This happened after the constitutional expiration of submission of names of candidates
Shocked with the disappearance of his name on the INEC portal, Kolawole was said to have raced to the INEC office to complain of the omission, but was told that the uploading of names of candidates were done by the respective political parties themselves and that the list uploaded in the portal was the one displayed without any interference
This made Kolawole to approach the court to compel INEC to upload his name as the House of Reps candidate for Kabba -Bunu / ljumu federal constituency but Justice Peter H. Mallong, in his ruling said the electoral umpire is entitled to set timelines for all his activities.
Justice Mallong said once the timeline is passed, the court cannot force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the date as such is the discretion of the electoral body.
The judge ruled that the court cannot compel INEC to open its portal and accept Kolawole’s candidacy.
Kolawole, in a suit marked FHC/LKJ/CS/35/2022, sought the order of court directing the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to upload his particulars as the duly elected candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the primary election held on the 27th May, 2022, having scored the highest valid vote thereupon nominated as approved by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Meanwhile, Kolawole has urged his supporters and party faithfuls to remain calm and be law abiding as arrangements are being put in place to approach the Court of Appeal to review the decision of the lower court
He said his decision to challenge the judgement is premise on the fact that many of the party’s candidates in other Constituencies in the country who fell in his category had gotten judgement in their favour, stressing that Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency cannot be an exception.