A coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), calling for the debriefing and removal of one its lawyers’, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, for gross misrepresentation of the commission.
In a petition signed by the coalition’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group stated that that some lawyers engaged by the INEC are also defending political parties in a number of election petitions which have just been concluded throughout the country.
“As contained in our letter dated 2nd June 2015 to your office, we have in the pursuit of our Election and Tribunal Monitoring Project demanded the debriefing of Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN by the Commission and also the removal of his name from the list of Counsels to the Commission.
“That demand was to prevent further disregard for the Commission’s directives and accurate representation of the Commission in election petition before tribunal, where the counsel and some others are misrepresenting the Commission in their defences.
We have noted that these lawyers engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are also defending political parties in a number of election petitions which have just been concluded throughout the country.
The petition reads: “In a most embarrassing manner, the INEC lawyers made legal submissions to the effect that the use of card readers was not made compulsory by the INEC during the 2015 General Elections.
“In the appeals already filed against the judgment of the election petition tribunals at the Court of Appeal the INEC lawyers have also learned up with some defence lawyers to challenge the legal validity of the use of card readers.
“In view of the clear position of the INEC on the mandatory use of card readers for the Governorship /House of Assembly elections during the 2015 General Elections, the attack on the use of card readers by the INEC lawyers has exposed the INEC to ridicule before Nigerians and the international community.
“In the light of the foregoing, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to ensure that the current INEC consortium of lawyers, involved in the misrepresentation of INEC clear directive, is disbanded on ground of conflict of interests.
“TAKE NOTICE that if our humble request is not met we shall have no other alternative than to sue the INEC for retaining lawyers who are using the name and resources of the INEC to subvert democracy in Nigeria,” he said.