The governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2023 governorship election in Adamawa State, Aishatu Dahiru, popularly called Binani, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from voiding an illegal declaration that named her as the governor-elect of the state.
The Leadership newspaper reports that Binani asked the court for an order prohibiting the election umpire from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner of the election pending the determination of her application for judicial review.
The APC candidate was illegally declared the governor-elect of the state by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) following last Sunday’s supplementary election in the state.
Mrs Dahiru was hoping to upstage the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored more votes during the main election on 18 March.
According to Nigeria’s electoral law, the REC, Hudu Ari, has no power to announce the winner of the election. That responsibility solely lies with the state collation officer appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that results from the remaining local government had not been received by the INEC when the REC announced Mrs Dahiru as the winner. INEC subsequently released a statement voiding the announcement by its REC of the state stating that it was a usurpation of the power of the returning officer.
According to the court papers obtained by the newspaper, she argued that the after the collation of results, INEC declared her the winner of the election but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, the incumbent governor who is seeking a second term in office, violently disturbed public peace and attacked an INEC National Commissioner.
She claimed the crisis that ensued forced INEC to void the original declaration naming her the governor-elect of the state. She added that INEC did not have the power to void a declaration made as only the election petition tribunal has the power to void such a declaration.
She further argued that INEC usurped the powers of the election tribunal by nullifying the declaration originally made.
Her lawyer, Hussaini Zakariyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said a judicial review exists to enable a superior court to stop the actions and decisions of lower courts as well as the legislative and administrative arm of government including agencies and public officers.
He argued that as a public agency, INEC’s actions, records, and decisions can be checked by the court. He added that only a court can nullify the actions of an official of INEC and not INEC itself.
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