The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been sued over its refusal to provide the Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents relating to the presidential nomination of the candidate of the All Progressives Conges (APC), Bola Tinubu.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1337/2022, an Abuja-based lawyer, Mike Enahoro-Ebah sued the electoral commission for refusing to release Tinubu’s credentials.
It has been reported that the Commission is the only defendant in the suit.
The lawyer is also seeking an order asking INEC to release Tinubu’s nomination forms submitted when he contested the Lagos governorship election in 1999 and 2003, respectively.
He is also seeking an order granting him leave to apply for judicial review of an order of mandamus directing or compelling INEC to furnish him with the CTCs of the “nomination forms for governor and affidavits in support of personal particulars and all other documents attached thereto, submitted to the respondent by and on behalf of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the 1999 and 2003 Governorship Elections in Lagos State”.
Additionally, the applicant is requesting that the court order INEC to give him the CTCs of the “Nomination Forms EC13A, EC 9, affidavits and any other papers filed to the respondent (INEC) by and on behalf of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria”.
The lawyer stated that he had applied for the documents through two different letters dated July 13 and July 22 to 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.
He said the request for Tinubu’s credentials was based on the argument that since INEC is holding them, they have become public records and he is entitled to access them under section 29(4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and section1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
Enahoro-Ebah prayed the court to declare that the failure of INEC to provide the CTCs with the public documents in its custody amounts to a breach of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
The suit reads: “The mandatory statutory duration of 14 (fourteen) days within which the respondent is to issue CTCs of the requested public documents in its custody and possession, according to Section 29 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022, has lapsed, therefore, the respondent is deemed to have refused to accede to applicant’s request/application.
The right of access to public documents in custody and possession of the respondent is inclusive of the right to institute civil proceedings in court to compel the respondent to issue same documents to anyone who applies for same, as established in Section 29 (4) of the Electoral 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 respondent are connected one way or another to the election and the sui generis nature of it means time is of the essence.”