PDP drags judge who halted Bauchi guber collation to NJC

PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus
PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has petitioned the National Judicial Council over what it described as violation of the Constitution and Electoral Act by Ekwo Inyang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The party made this known in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan on Wednesday morning.

The party accused the judge of sitting on a matter that ought to have been handled by an election petition tribunal, as created by the provisions of the laws.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission not to go ahead with its plan to collate, conclude and announce the results of the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, which held on March 9.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo, made the order based on an ex-parte application filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the incumbent governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar.

The restraining order is to last till the determination of the suit brought before the court by the two plaintiffs.

But the PDP noted that in granting an exparte order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from concluding the governorship election in Bauchi State, the judge violated Section 87(11) of the Electoral Act, which states that no court has the power or jurisdiction to stop any election pending the determination of a suit.

“In an affidavit sworn to by the PDP’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, in Abuja, the party notes that issues of collation of results and declaration of winner, is a post-election event and, therefore, falls under the Electoral Act and Constitutional provisions for the election petition tribunal.”

The affidavit states, “Despite this clear provision of the law, Justice Ekwo decided to hear the application of Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), within twenty four hours on 19th March, 2019 and issued an order on INEC not to continue with the election until the case before him is finally decided.

“That the collation of results is a post-election event and under section 87(11) of the Electoral Act, no court has the power or jurisdiction to stop any election pending the determination of a suit.

“That an election includes voting, collation of results and the declaration of results.

“That as a result of the order on the Independent National Electoral Commission, the conclusion of the Bauchi State Governorship election which was to take place on 19th March 2019 was stalled.

“That the order of Justice Ekwo was made contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended dealing without fair hearing and also section 87(11) of the Electoral Act.

“That the Chief Justice of Nigeria has constituted the various Election Petition Tribunals in Nigeria to handle such cases and the assumption of jurisdiction by Justice Inyang Ekwo is an affront to the constitution and electoral wishes of the people of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and Bauchi State.”

The PDP insisted that not only did the judge violate the clear provisions of the Electoral Act, the motion granted is also an affront to the electoral wishes of the people of Bauchi State.

The PDP urged the NJC to save Nigeria’s democracy by taking an urgent step against the violations by Mr Ekwo.

INEC was set to announce the results of the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa local government before the injunction which the electoral body has since obeyed. The result of the local government would have given the PDP a largely unassailable lead in the Bauchi governorship election which had been declared inconclusive.

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