25th March, 2019
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday made an order allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed with its plan to collate and announce the results of Tafawa Belewa Local Goverment of Bauchi State.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Bauchi State governor, Mr Mohammed Abubakar asking the court to stop INEC going ahead with the collation.
Justice Ekwo in his judgment said that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
According to the judge, having declined jurisdiction, the order of status quo made on March 19 is hereby vacated.
“There is no legal impediment preventing INEC from going ahead with the decision contained in its press release of March 15.
”Accordingly, I make an order dismissing this suit.”
APC and Abubakar had approached the court asking for a declaration that INEC cannot review what a collation officer had cancelled.
They had also asked the court to declare that INEC, having made a pronouncement for a supplementary election, could not go back on it.
They contended that contrary to INEC’s position, they could only approach the Election Petition Tribunal if there had been a return.
INEC had however, argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it was a matter for the Election Petition Tribunal.
INEC had announced that supplementary elections would be held in Bauchi, however, in a press release issued on March 15, the commission said that it would no longer go ahead with the supplementary election.
The electoral umpire maintained that it would rather continue with the collation and announcement of results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government.