The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has declared its readiness to challenge the disqualification by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its candidate, Barrister Natasha Hadiza Akpoti, in November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi state.
The party said by disqualifying Akpoti, INEC has raised more questions about the integrity and credibility of Nigeria institutions critical to her survival.
SDP national chairman, Prof Tunde Adeniran, who made the remark at a press briefing on Wednesday stated, “the news of the purported disqualification of Akpoti was greeted by wide condemnation by the Nigerian public.”
He said, “In conclusion, the SDP has resorted to court action to seek justice and we enjoin all Kogi electorate and the teeming supporters of Barrister Akpoti to keep faith because we will overcome. We will get justice and our Natasha will certainly be on the ballot on November 16, 2019 governorship elections.”
According to Adeniran, the matter was worsened when INEC’s spokesman informed the public on a national television that the leadership of the SDP had accepted that the party will not be included on the ballot for the November 16, 2019 Kogi state governorship.”
“This is an outright lie. We consider this not only a misnomer, but an unwarranted insult, falsification of information, misrepresentation of our party and a committal to deny our party of the statutory position to continue with our legal case instituted already before a court of competent jurisdiction against the Independent National Electoral Commission on the illegal disqualification of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates for the said election.”
The SDP national chairman said, “It is a fact that the action of INEC to disqualify a candidate is in contravention of the provisions of section 31, subsection (1) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as Amended) which places no powers in the hands of the commission to reject or disqualify candidates of political parties as submitted to it within the stipulated timeframe and provided for in law.”
He said by the act of disenfranchising Barr Akpoti, from the Nov 16 election, INEC had “attempted to disenfranchise the people of Kogi state and to deny them democratic access to change from the current decadent and oppressive government to a government of progressive social justice and economic development.”