Just eight days to the scheduled supplementary elections in six states, including Adamawa, a Yola High Court, yesterday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to halt the proposed conduct of elections in that state.
Backstory: The State High Court issued the order following a request to that effect by the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) which claimed that its party’s logo was omitted from the ballot paper used for the March 9 election.
Delivering the ruling after going through the affidavits in support of the motion, including that of extreme urgency, Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri, held that the request had merit.
He said, “After a careful perusal of an annexure of the MRDD 1 to 5 alongside written address of counsel urging me to grant the application, I am of the view that the application is pregnant with merit and must be granted.” The judge thereafter restrained INEC “from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State Governorship pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
He ruled that all processes relating to the suit be served to Adamawa INEC in Yola in compliance with Order 6 of the Court and the case was adjourned to March 21 for the hearing of the motion for the interlocutory injunction.
INEC reacts: The Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kassim Gaidam, said the commission is not aware of any court case banning it from conducting the supplementary election. “However, let me tell you that court order will not stop an election,” he said, citing Section 87 subsection 10 of the Electoral Act to support his point. He added that nothing in the section empowers the court to stop the holding of primary or general election pending the determination of a suit.
PDP reacts: The PDP is currently leading in the state, based on the votes counted so far, and as we reported yesterday, the ruling APC needs a miracle to overturn the deficit. The PDP has accused the Adamawa governor, Jibrilla Bindow of planning to use the MRPD to truncate the process. “It has come to our attention the desperate moves by the leadership of Adamawa state government to upturn the mandate of the people,” the PDP said. “One of the alleged moves is to lobby the presidency to cause the State High Court to slam INEC with an order of injunction restraining the electoral body from conducting the supplementary election and cancel the entire elections.”