A Political Party, Action Alliance (AA) on Thursday, filed a motion on notice seeking jail term for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Enugu State,Joseph Chukwuemeka Chukwu.
The motion titled: “Disobedience to the Order of the Tribunal by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State- Contemnor”, was filed through AA’s lawyer, John Nwobodo, seeking an order committing the REC to imprisonment in accordance with Section 146(4) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The motion was on the alleged refusal of the REC to obey a valid order issued by the Tribunal in its (AA) favour.
It recalled that on 15th April, the Tribunal had granted leave to the applicant (AA) directing the REC and other officers of the commission to grant access to the petitioner’s counsel or agents to inspect, scan, make and obtain certified true copies of the polling unit booklets, Forms EC 25A, EC 25A (1) EC 25B, among others, in respect of each of the 1,145 polling units where elections took place on 18th of March, 2023, pertaining to the governorship election.
The applicant said despite that the enrolled order of the tribunal was served on the REC on 18th April, 2023, he had refused to comply.
“On the 20th April, 2023, the day inspection was scheduled, it was found that the 1st Respondent refused, failed or neglected to comply with the Order.
“The petitioner wrote the 1st Respondent for the second time on 25th April, 2023 specifying dates to visit each of the 17 LGAs to inspect materials as contained in the enrolled order.
“On 27th April, 2023, the petitioner visited the scheduled LGAs but was informed by the Electoral Officers that they were not directed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner to grant the petitioner access to inspect electoral materials.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner has wilfully refused, failed or neglected to comply with the orders of this Honourable Tribunal.
“This Honourable Tribunal is imbued with disciplinary jurisdiction under Section 146(3) & (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to punish by commital to imprisonment to at least two years, without an option of fine anyone who disobeys the orders of the Tribunal,” Nwobodo said.