Mark Gbillah, a member of the House of Representatives, who represents the Gwer East/Gwer West federal constituency of Benue state, says he has filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for including him as a candidate of two political parties.
In the list published by INEC on September 20, Mr. Gbillah was listed as a Labor Party and New Nigeria People’s Party candidate for senator for the senatorial district of Benue Northwest (Area B).
Mr. Gbillah, while briefing reporters on Friday at the National Assembly, said that the INEC wrongly named him as the bipartisan candidate, despite withdrawing as the NNPP candidate as provided by the Electoral Law, adding that he subsequently joined the Labor Party, where he contested a primary election for his senatorial district.
He explained that he has initiated a case against the electoral referee for the duplication of his name in the lists of the two parties.
At the briefing, Mr. Gbillah provided his letter of resignation from the NNPP and his withdrawal as the party’s senator candidate. Both letters are dated July 5.
The legislator also filed an affidavit with the Federal High Court in Abuja, declaring his withdrawal as a candidate from the NNPP.
In addition, Mr. Gbillah provided the INEC report that oversaw the primaries that produced Ako Francis as the NNPP candidate for the Senate District.
Position of the law on withdrawal
The Electoral Law of 2022 establishes provisions for the withdrawal of a candidate and the conditions for said withdrawal.
Article 31 of the Law establishes that “a candidate may withdraw his candidacy by means of a written notification signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for said election and the political party shall notify said withdrawal to the commission no later than 90 days before the election.
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However, Section 115 (1) (d) of the Act provides that any person who signs a nomination paper or a results form as a candidate in more than one constituency in the same election commits an offense and is subject to penalty. from prison .”
I’m still a candidate for LP
Commenting on being a dual candidate, Mr. Gbillah said he cannot be held responsible for NNPP’s inability to replace him as a candidate.
“Although it is true that the publication of the INEC on September 20, 2022 of the list of candidates for the national elections (presidential, Senate and House of Representatives) for the general elections of 2023 indicated my name as a candidate for both the Labor Party and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) for the Northwest Benue senatorial district election, this posting was wrong and without my knowledge, and I have since taken the necessary legal action against INEC and NNPP to correct this serious error that allegedly occurred due to the inability of the NNPP to upload the name of its replacement candidate to the INEC portal within the schedule provided by the INEC, “he said.
Mr. Gbillah revealed that “the Labor Party rescheduled the senatorial primary for the Benue Northwest Senatorial District held on July 11, 2022, where I was elected unopposed as the Labor Party candidate for election.”
When contacted via text message, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the spokesperson for the INEC president, promised to communicate INEC’s position to PREMIUM TIMES, but had not done so at the time of presenting this report.