The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC), over a recent exparte order by Justice Ekwo Inyang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, stopping the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC), from collating the results of the Bauchi state governorship election in Tafawa Balea Local Government Area.
Backstory: According to the party, Justice Inyang’s order violated the Constitution and Electoral Act, “which states that no court has the power or jurisdiction to stop any election pending the determination of a suit.”
An affidavit sworn by the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, stated, “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.”
The PDP also said 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.
The party also explained that not only did the exparte stall the collation process which should have rounded up by March 19, it also went in contrary to the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, and also the Electoral Act section 87(11)
“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”
Meanwhile, INEC has announced the results for Tafawa Balewa local government area: The PDP won the LGA with 29,933 votes as against the APC’s 25,210 votes. The result was announced upon the resumption of collation. However announcement of results has now been halted following the court order.