INEC made this known in a six-paragraph Affidavit of Facts deposed to 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.
A certified true copy of a list of candidates for the Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates for Ekiti State was attached to the Affidavit of Facts.
The Affidavit of Facts deposed to by one Edu Sodiq, a senior clerical officer at the INEC headquarters in 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, House of Representatives candidates for Ekiti Central 1, Ekiti Central 2, Ekiti North 2 and Ekiti South 2, Joju Fayose, Lere Olayinka, Yinka Akerele and Emiola Adenike Jennifer respectively 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 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 National Working Committee 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.