The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vehemently rejected what it termed as the arm-twisting of the judiciary and the court by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to unconstitutionally halt the conclusion of collation of already declared results in the Bauchi State governorship election.
The party made this known in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Ologbondiyan described the order as akin to the infamous order that derailed the 1993 democratic process.
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission not to go ahead with its plan to collate and announce the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which would have given the PDP an almost unassailable lead in the Bauchi governorship election.
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 while rejecting it described it as part of the “plot by the APC and certain compromised elements in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to escalate crisis and derail our electoral process.”
“The power to collate, suspend collation and or to reverse such decision based on obvious circumstances as the case in Bauchi is clearly within the domain of INEC,” he said.
He said until collation is completed and results declared no one can question the constitutional powers of INEC in that regard.
“The PDP cautions that if this desperate underhand measure by the APC to halt electoral processes is not checked, our hard earned democracy will fail us and our nation thrown into anarchy.”
“Our party should not be constrained into a situation in which we will have no option than to allow our members to seek similar exparte orders to halt statutory processes including the swearing-in of APC candidates at various levels, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“It is clear that collation of result is part of the electoral process and that INEC cannot act on a purported exparte order to jettison its independence and halt the collation of results, which is a key component of its statutory electoral duty.”
He added that Section 87 (10) of the Electoral Act is unambiguous in its prescription that “nothing in this section shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general election or the processes thereof under this Act pending the determination of a suit”.
The PDP further charges INEC to be properly guided by the law in this regard.
“The PDP urges the institution of Judiciary not to allow the APC to entangle the court in its shenanigans to destroy our hard-earned democracy.”
He said Nigerians in Bauchi state have elected the PDP and nothing can change the reality.
The APC and Bauchi governor had prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from resuming, concluding or announcing the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State in respect of the governorship election.
The election was initially declared inconclusive by INEC due to incidents in Tafawa Balewa local government.
INEC later announced it would go ahead with collation and complete the results sourced from backup result sheets, a move Mr Abubakar, who scored the second highest votes in results so far collated, rejected.
The governor wants supplementary polls to be conducted. On Monday, he met with President Muhammad Buhari and vowed to challenge INEC’s actions in court.