By Kayode Adeoti
The Kwara State High Court, sitting in Ilorin on Tuesday, threw out plea of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop the conduct of the November 18 local government elections into the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
The PDP had, through its counsel, Salman Jawondo, approached the court seeking for orders to restrain the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) from conducting the said poll.
The party had also sought court order to nullify the nomination fee of the electoral commission and the tax clearance demanded from those participating in the poll by the Kwara Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS).
Also joined in the suit was the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN).
PDP had hinged its claims on the alleged unconstitutionality inherent in KWSIEC guidelines for candidates participating in the council poll.
It issued an order of interlocutory injunction restraining KWSIEC from enforcing, giving effect to and or applying some sections of the Kwara State Electoral Law, Laws of Kwara State 2006 and the guidelines for the conduct of the forth coming local council election pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The PDP argued that the 2006 local government electoral law passed by the Kwara State House of Assembly is inconsistent with the National Assembly Act and the 1999 Constitution.
The party also averred in its application that some requirements for candidates in the Kwara State Local Government electoral law and the guidelines for the conduct of the council poll are preconditions not within the purviews of the 1999 Constitution as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act as amended, PDP listed such requirements as the screening and disqualification of candidates by the KWSIEC.
But in his judgment, Justice Sulaiman Akanbi said, there was nothing unconstitutional by the legislation passed by the Kwara State House of Assembly.
He, therefore, ordered the state electoral umpire to go ahead with the November 18th, 2017, local government election.
The judge said: “What the Kwara State House of Assembly did constitutionally and additionally is to aide the Federal Law; the state law is not inconsistent with the Electoral law. Kwara State House of Assembly did not run foul of the Constitution rather it complemented it.
“It is crystal clear that the action of the Kwara State House of Assembly is constitutionally guaranteed as regards the council elections. Section 106 of the Constitution is also emphatic on this. I therefore resolved the two issues raised by the claimant in favour of the defendants’.”