The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reinstate Natasha Akpoti, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.
Delivering judgement on Thursday, Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa held that the electoral commission was wrong to have excluded Ms Akpoti from the forthcoming governorship election.
Mrs Ogunbanjo-Giwa also held that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate for an election as it is the exclusive reserve of a competent court of law.
According to the judge, the provisions of sections 31(1) and 83 of the Electoral Act holds that INEC cannot disqualify or reject a candidate nominated by a political party for an election.
She said this is aimed at ensuring that it does not lie within the executive realms of INEC to determine who participates in an election.
The judge added that the intention of the law is to make INEC a true unbiased umpire.
She, accordingly, granted the plaintiffs’ reliefs 1-7 and ordered INEC to include the names of the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of SDP as well as the party’s logo on the ballot paper in the November 16 governorship election in the state.