The Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to declare unlawful the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that political parties could no longer campaign despite its postponement of elections.

The request is contained in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/206/2019, filed by the Action People’s Party (APP).

The plaintiff argued that by virtue of “the combined effect of the mandatory statutory provisions of Sections 99(1), 100(1) and 101(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended)” INEC could not validly bar campaigns by registered political parties for the 2019 general election before a period earlier than 24 hours prior to the date of the election”.

It wants the court to determine, “Whether by Sections 99(1), 100(1) and 101(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended) the announcement, directive or order by INEC directing registered political parties, including the APP, to stop or end their campaign for the 2019 General Elections on February 14, 2019 for polls that will hold on February 23, 2019 is not ultra vires its powers, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever”.

In the substantive suit, the plaintiff sought among others, “A declaration that INEC cannot issue any directive or make any order stopping, barring or ending campaign by registered political parties, including the APP, for the 2019 General Elections to a period other than 24 hours prior to the date of the elections;

“A declaration that the announcement, directive or order by INEC directing political parties, including the APP, to stop or end their campaign for the 2019 General Elections on February 14, 2019 for polls that will hold on February 23, 2019 is ultra vires its powers, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever; and

“A declaration that in view of the postponement of the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections till February 23, 2019, APP Party and indeed all registered political parties in Nigeria are legally entitled, pursuant to Sections 99(1), 100(1) and 101(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended), to resume forthwith and/or recommence campaign until February 21, 2019 been 24 hours prior the date of the election.”

In an ex-parte application of urgency filed with the suit, the plaintiff wants an order of injunction restraining the defendant from stopping, ending or in any other manner whatsoever giving effect to the directive or order purported ending or stopping campaign by political parties for the 2019 general elections on February 14, 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

The suit, filed on Monday, is yet to be assigned for hearing.

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