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2013 Enugu LGA:Court Orders ENSIEC To Refund Opposition Candidates Their Deposit

Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

A High Court sitting in on Tuesday ordered the State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to refund forthwith deposits made to it by opposition party candidates that enabled them contest the November  2013 council elections.

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ENSIEC Chairman, Dr. Bonife Eneh

The court presided over by Justice R.N Onuorah held that the deposits made to the ENSIEC which the commission tagged “non-refundable” was at variance with substantive law which provides for pecuniary deposits.

African Examiner reports that Eight members of the various opposition political parties in the state including the All Progressive Congress APC and All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA, who  contested the  election had last month dragged the Dr. Bonife Eneh led ENSIEC to court following its refusal to refund their deposits in the election.

The Applicants include a chairmanship and seven councilorship candidates who were made to pay N200,000.00 and N50,000.00 respectively by the commission for the council polls..

The commission, had while substantiating her refusal to refund the payments claimed it was in consonance with her guidelines for the election which makes all payments “non refundable”.

But the court disagreed with local government electoral body, relying on its previous judgment in the case between the commission and John Nwobodo where it held that ENSIEC guidelines was not consistent with the local government laws of Enugu state 2004.

It declared the commission’s guideline over the payments as invalid saying that “deposit is pecunairy and not non refundable”

In his reaction on the ruling via a statement tuesday, the state chapter of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP)C applauded the Enugu State Judiciary for living up to its duty by giving such a landmark.

CNPP stressed that the verdict was a boost to democracy, noting that with the landmark ruling, candidates from parties other than the ruling peoples Democratic party PDP could now vie for elective positions without fear over deposit payments.



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