A state High Court sitting in Yola has issued an order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting supplementary governorship election in Adamawa State.
Justice Abdulaziz Waziri of State High Court 4 gave the order following a motion ex parte filed by Movement of Restoration for Defence of Democracy (MRPD), claiming that it’s party logo was excluded from the ballot paper for the March 9 governorship election conducted in the state.
However, a seasoned constitutional lawyer, Sunday Wugiri, told SaharaReporters that “though the order is valid for now, the court lacks jurisdiction to grant it. Only a Federal High Court can entertain any matter that concerns federal institutions like INEC”.
At a press briefing in Yola on Wednesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had accused Governor Jibrilla Bindow of planning to use the MRPD to scuttle the supplementary election through unnecessary legal bottlenecks.
“It has come to our attention the desperate moves by the leadership of Adamawa state government to upturn the mandate of the people. 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.
They intend to use a governorship Candidate who allegedly claimed that the logo of his party was omitted on the ballot in the last governorship election to file a case before the state High Court.”
However, Kashim Gaidam, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC reacted thus: “For your information court orders cannot stop elections. Having said that, only INEC at the national office, can respond to any matter involving court orders.”
Professor Andrew Haruna declared the Adamawa State governorship election inconclusive, citing the slim margin of 32,476 votes between while cancelled ballots amounted to 40,988. Ahmed Umar Fintiri, candidate of the PDP had polled 367,471 votes, while the incumbent governor, Jibrilla Bindow of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored 334,995 votes.
INEC has scheduled the supplementary election for March 23.