By Temitope Owotoki
A Yola High Court has issue an order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the supplementary elections in Adamawa, with the electoral umpire saying the court could not halt the exercise.
There are also supplementary governorship elections scheduled for Bauchi, Plateau, Benue and Kano on March 23.
The Yola High Court handed down the order restraining the INEC from conducting the supplementary election in Adamawa, following a request to that effect by Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD).
Mustafa Shaba, Counsel to the Adamawa chapter of MRDD, filed the request over the absence of the party’s logo on the ballot paper used for the March 9 inconclusive election. Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri in the ruling, after going through the two affidavits in support of the motion including that of extreme urgency, held that the request has merit.
“After careful perusal of the annexture 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. I hereby grant the following order.
“The defendant here in, the INEC is restrained whether by themselves, their executives, servants, privies, representative nominees or any other person or persons from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State Governorship pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice,” he said.
Waziri ruled that all the processes relating to the suit be served to Adamawa INEC in Yola in compliance with Order 6 of the Court. The case was adjourned to March 21 for hearing of motion for the interlocutory injunction.
But reacting to the ruling, Kassim Gaidam, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Adamawa State, in a statement, said the commission is not aware of any court case banning it from conducting the supplementary election. But citing Section 87 sub section 10 of the Electoral Act, he said no court has the power to stop the election.
“However, let me tell you that court order will not stop any election.
“Nothing in this section shall empower the court to stop the holding of primary or general election or the process thereof under this act pending the determination of a suit,” the REC said.