A five man Appeal Court panel composed of two females ruled in favor of INEC in Abuja today on the case involving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Action Congress (AC) party on the question of disqualification of its candidates for the office of President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.
The Appeal Court in a unanimous ruling cited the relevant provisions of the constitution as well as the Electoral Act of 2006 to buttress INEC powers to screen candidates for the elections contrary to the claim by the Action Congress (AC) that INEC had no such powers. INEC had claimed in subsequent defense that it has the requisite powers to disqualify candidates through screenings which led the body to disqualify the Vice President and Action Congress Presidential candidates, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku as a candidate. Atiku was disqualified by INEC as a result of indictments over corrupt practices.
The Appeal Court judges held the INEC has constitutional powers to disqualify Atiku and accordingly dismissed his complaints against INEC in a judgment that lasted 30 minutes
VP Atiku sources told Saharareporters that they will appeal the case at the Supreme Court, but some of his core supporters also said they have become worn out and may be looking to "move on" at this point in the case having put up a good fight on his behalf.
This effectively hands victory over to President Obasanjo, who had fought to keep Abubakar Atiku off the ballot as a presidential candidate in the upcoming general elections that is about two weeks away.