A lawyer, Mike Enahoro-Ebah, has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its alleged refusal to provide him with certified true copies (CTCs) of Bola Tinubu’s presidential nomination forms.
Tinubu is running for the Nigerian presidency in the 2023 elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr. Enahoro-Ebah, in an ex parte application filed on August 5 in the Abuja Federal High Court, sued INEC as the sole defendant in the matter.
In the application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1337/2022, the attorney requested an order allowing him to seek judicial review of an order of mandamus ordering or compelling the INEC to provide him with the CTCs of the “nomination forms for governor and affidavits in support of personal data and all other documents… submitted to… INEC… by… Ahmed Tinubu Ballfor the 1999 and 2003 gubernatorial elections in the state of Lagos”.
Court authorization is a prerequisite for such a lawsuit to fully commence. If the court, in the exercise of its discretion, refuses to grant the petitioner, it will mark the end of the lawsuit.
The applicant asks the court to compel the electoral arbitrator to deliver to him the CTCs of “Nomination Forms EC13A, EC 9, affidavits and all other documents submitted to … by and on behalf of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by 2023 Presidential Elections in Nigeria”.
Mr. Enahoro-Ebah said that he had requested the documents through his July 13 and 22 letters to the INEC pursuant to Section 29(4) of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 1 (1) and (3); Section 2 (6) and Section 7 (4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, without success.
Reasons for application
The Complainant based his request for Mr. Tinubu’s credentials on the fact that they are in the custody of INEC and have therefore become public documents to which he has a right conferred by Section 29(4) of the Electoral Act. of 2022 and Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
ALSO READ: ANALYSIS: What APC nomination form prices say about Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign
“The mandatory legal term of 14 (Fourteen) days within which the defendant must issue CTC of the requested public documents in his custody and possession, in accordance with Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Law of 2022, has expired, for therefore, the respondent is deemed to have refused to grant the applicant’s request/application,” the attorney argued in his filings.
“The right of access to public documents in the custody and possession of the defendant includes the right to bring civil actions in court to compel the defendant to issue the same documents to anyone who requests them, as established in Section 29 (4) of the Elections Act 2022, and Section 1 (3), Section 2 (6) and Section 7 (4) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
“The public documents sought from the defendant are connected in one way or another to the election and the sui generis nature of it means that time is of the essence,” he said.
Mr. Enahoro-Ebah urged the court to declare that INEC’s failure to provide him with the CTCs from the public documents in its custody amounts to “a violation of Section 29(4) of the Electoral Act 2022 and a denial improper information. under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.”
The case has not yet been assigned to a judge.