Supreme Court orders new electoral wards, units in three Warri LGAs

Amanda Bullock / January 14,2023

 

The Supreme Court has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out fresh delineation of electoral wards and units in the three Local Governments in Warri, Delta State.

The affected Local Governments are Warri South West, Warri South and Warri North Local Government Areas.

A five-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, in a unanimous judgment, ordered that the delineation be carried out before the conduct of future elections in the affected areas.

Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, in the lead judgment, relied on the provision of Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act in issuing the order compelling the defendant (INEC), and its agents to conduct a fresh delineation of all that electoral wards/polling units for Warri South West, Warri North and Warri South Local Government Areas of Warri Federal Constituency in Delta State for the purpose of future elections.
She made an order setting aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Benin division, delivered February 1, 2016.

The judgment by the Supreme Court, delivered on December 2, 2022, a copy of which The Nation sighted on Sunday, was on the appeal marked: SC/413/2016 filed by some Ijaws in Warri represented by Hon. George Timinimi and nine others.

Justice Abba-Aji noted that “it is the constitutional duty and responsibility of the respondent (INEC) to do what the appellants are asking it to do, especially in relation to relief three.

“In the sum, this issue is resolved in favour of the appellants. The judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside. The appeal is allowed.

“By virtue of section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, I grant relief 3 of the appellants,” she said.

Justice Abba-Aji proceed to issue an order “compelling the defendant, its agents, servants, privies and assigns to conduct a fresh delineation of all that electoral wards/ polling units for Warri South West, Warri North and Warri South Local Government Areas of Warri Federal Constituency in Delta State for the purpose of future elections.”

Timinimi and nine others had sued before the Federal High Court in Asaba , seeking among others, the re-delineation of electoral wards and units in the three Warri councils.

But, in its judgment, the Federal High Court dismissed the case, holding that, although the plaintiffs claimed locus standi, they did not show that they had interest over and above the other members of the wards, who were also not made parties to the suit.

The Court of Appeal, Benin affirmed the Federal High Court’s judgment, which informed the appellants’ appeal to the Supreme Court.

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