Sixty-one political parties are prepared to file a suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to challenge what they term “manipulated” 2019 election guidelines at a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
The parties alleged that INEC had inserted new clauses in the guidelines which they argued would lead to “massive rigging” of the elections in favour of the government in power if allowed to scale through.
Ikenga Ugochinyere, National Chairman of the Action Peoples Party (APP), who is also the National Secretary of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and spokesman for the 61 parties, disclosed this in a statement released on Sunday evening
He said Section 155 of the Electoral Act gives political parties the power to challenge INEC’s election guidelines in court.
According to the statement, leaders of the political parties were set to pass a vote of no confidence in the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, if he decided to release the “controversial guidelines” today, without meeting with political parties for their input.
“Political parties predict 2019 pre-election crisis over INEC's unilateral decision to issue guidelines which do not promote election credibility. Political parties demand INEC's retention of the 2015 separate accreditation and separate voting system to avoid confusing voters due to closeness of polls.
“This move is to stop INEC from releasing the guidelines and also quash some sections of the draft guidelines which are in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, including the obnoxious provisions inserted into the guidelines which will lead to massive rigging of the 2019 elections,” he said.