Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Bauchi Governorship Election

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, kicked out a suit challenging the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conclude, collate, and announce the governorship election resultsfrom Tafawa Balewa Local Government in Bauchi State.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling on Monday, dismissed the suit affirming that the court lacked jurisdiction on the case, following the decision of the electoral body which said it would go ahead with the collation and announcement of results for the governorship election in Bauchi after the poll had been declared inconclusive.

Justice Ekwo had on March 19, stopped INEC from going on as scheduled but held that the order would last till the determination of the suit brought before the court by the two plaintiffs. He had, a day before the ruling, ordered the electoral umpire to appear before him on Tuesday last week to give reasons why the order sought by the two plaintiffs ought not to be granted.

Meanwhile, rather than comply with the order of the court, INEC came up with a motion challenging its jurisdiction. But counsel to the plaintiffs, Ahmed Raji, objected to the application of INEC, informing the court that the order directing INEC to show cause why the requests of the plaintiffs should not be granted had not been obeyed.

In his response, Inuwa admitted that the order had not been complied with and requested to address the court orally on the issue. The judge had, however, refused to grant the request and held that since the ex parte application was in writing and duly served on INEC, it behoved on the defendant to appear before the court with a written or formal response.

In his judgment, Justice Ekwo agreed that: “His court and the Election Petition Tribunal had concurrent jurisdiction to review the decision of INEC to reverse its earlier decision to conduct a supplementary election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area until the final results of the election are announced.”

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