The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that all the National Assembly candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State are authentic and cannot be replaced.
INEC made this known in a six-paragraph Affidavit of Facts released on February 13, 2023, in response to Suit Number HAD/12/2023, filed by five of the PDP National Assembly candidates to challenge their suspension and expulsion from the party.
The certified true copy of the list of candidates for the senatorial and House of Representatives candidates for Ekiti State was attached to the document.
The Affidavit of Facts deposed to by Edu Sodiq, a senior clerical officer at INEC headquarters, Abuja, reads in part: “I have read the affidavit in support of the Originating Summons deposed to by one Offiong Joseph and I state as follows:
“That in furtherance of the 3rd Defendant’s power to publish the list of candidates that stand nominated as submitted by the sponsoring political party, the 3rd Defendant published the final list of candidates for the Ekiti State Senatorial District, House of Representatives and the amendment made to the final list by reason of Court Order for the Ekiti State Senatorial District in respect of the 2023 General elections holding on 25th February 2023.
“A copy of the final list for the Ekiti State Senatorial District, the amendment to the final list for the Ekiti State House of Representatives are hereby annexed and marked Exhibit INEC 1, Exhibit INEC 2 and Exhibit INEC 3.
“The 3rd Defendant’s affidavit of fact is for the record purposes and to guide this honourable court in deciding the instant suit.”
It should be recalled that the PDP senatorial candidate for Ekiti Central, Lateef Ajijola, alongside House of Representatives candidates for Ekiti Central 1, Ekiti Central 2, Ekiti North 2 and Ekiti South 2, respectively Joju Fayose, Lere Olayinka, Yinka Akerele and Emiola Adenike Jennifer had filed a suit to challenge their suspension and later expulsion from the PDP.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the PDP, the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, as well as all members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party and INEC.
On February 2, 2023, the court ordered that the status quo be maintained by all parties. However, in defiance of the court order, the NWC expelled the five candidates on Friday, February 10, 2023.
“It is crystal clear by this affidavit of INEC that the whole exercise of suspension and purported expulsion of the candidates remain mere academic exercise,” a lawyer said.
Ekiti PDP NASS candidates irreplaceable – INEC