INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu

Chairmen of 61 political parties in Nigeria have headed to court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from releasing draft guidelines for the 2019 general election.

The affected Chairmen are also seeking to quash some sections of the draft guidelines which were in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 constitution and other clauses  which they considered as being obnoxious.

According to a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the National Chairman of the Action Peoples Party (APP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the suit would be filled on Monday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The suit is being instituted by four national chairmen of four political parties suing on behalf of the rest of the 61 political parties against the guideline.

According to the statement, the plaintiffs, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere (APP), Dr. Sam Eke (GPN), Nsehe Nseobong (RP) and Barr Kenneth Udeze (AA) would be seeking for an injunction to restrain the INEC Chairman from going ahead with the planned release of the guidelines which they had rejected over non consultation, obnoxious clauses and violation of the Constitution.

They insisted that the only way to have a free and fair election was for those clauses contained in the guidelines which did not promote free and fair elections to be expunged.

They called on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to summon an emergency meeting with all political parties in the country to address the grey areas contained in the guidelines to avoid the 2019 election running into credibility crisis.

They maintained that the INEC chairman should retain the 2011 and 2015 separate accreditation and separate voting system which electorates in the country were fully familiar with and avoid creating confusion and loopholes that would aid massive tampering of results.

According to the statement, other contentious issues were the flawed accreditation procedure which allows fake voters whose names are not on the voters register, including people with fake PVCs, to vote.

“The chairmen are currently mobilizing more party leaders to move against the INEC Chairman in the event that he goes ahead to issue out the guideline without the input of the political parties and without removing the obnoxious clauses which will ruin the free and fair election.

“We will declare INEC Chairman persona non grata if he issues the doctored guidelines without input and meeting with political parties’ chairmen,” the statement added.