Court adjourns suit by APC, Bauchi governor

Bauchi State Governor, Muhammed Abubakar
Bauchi State Governor, Muhammed Abubakar

The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the governor of Bauchi State, Muhammed Abubakar, to March 21.

This was after an appeal by the counsel to the APC, Ahmed Raji, that he was served with a preliminary objection and a counter affidavit by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and that he would need time to reply.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo, had granted an interim injunction restraining INEC from resuming, concluding and announcing the governorship election result in the state, pending the determination of all issues raised by the plaintiffs in their originating summons.

The plaintiffs in the suit are challenging the decision of INEC to resume collation of results of an election that was earlier declared inconclusive.

Mr Ekwo added that the substantive matter shall be taken alongside the preliminary objection raised by INEC.

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has also appeared in court seeking to be joined in the suit as an interested and affected party.

The PDP also petitioned the National Judicial Council over what it described as a violation of the Constitution and Electoral Act by Mr Ekwo 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 Bauchi State, which held on March 9.

The judge, Mr 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.

The INEC, however, said while it would halt the collation of the governorship election results in Tafawa Balewa local government in obedience to the court order, it would go ahead with the council’s constituency election results.

But, the PDP noted that in granting an ex parte 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.

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