An order to halt further action on the ongoing governorship election in Adamawa State was on Tuesday declined by the Federal High Court in Abuja. It was an ex-parte application by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered the counsel that appeared for the Applicant, Mr. Mohammed Sheriff, to address whether or not it has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Though a lawyer, Afeez Matanmi, announced his appearance for the incumbent governor of Adamawa state, Ahmadu Fintiri, he was however not allowed to address the court since the APC candidate brought the action through an ex-parte application.
Senator Aisha had in the ex-parte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023, applied for leave of the court to allow her to seek, “an order of prohibition and certiorari removing to this court for the purpose of being set aside the administrative decision of the 1st Respondent made on 16th April 2023 in respect of the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on the 18th of March, 2023 and the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023.”
As well as, an order of the court, “preventing the 1st Respondent, its agent, assign or any person acting on its behalf from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on the 18th of March and the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023, pending the determination of the application for judicial review”.
Whereas the APC was listed as the 2nd Applicant in the suit, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate/incumbent governor of the state, Fintiri, were cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents.
It will be recalled that INEC had declared that the Adamawa state governorship election was inconclusive, even as it ordered a supplementary election.
However, midway into the collation of results of the supplementary poll that held last Saturday, the Adamawa state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, announced the APC candidate, Aisha, as the winner.
The action elicited instant reactions, with the electoral body not only voiding Yunusa-Ari’s action but equally placing him on an indefinite suspension.
In her suit, the APC candidate insisted that she was declared winner of the governorship election after the collation process was completed.
“Pursuant to the declaration of Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed as the winner of the gubernatorial election, any dissatisfied candidate is to resort to the tribunal for redress if any.
“The 2nd Respondent, PDP, and the 3rd Respondent Ahmadu Fintiri, who lost in the election resorted to fighting and causing a public disturbance which led to the beating and manhandling of one of the 1st Respondent staff.
“The crisis caused by the 2nd and 3rd Respondents led the 1st Respondent to announce that it had cancelled the initial declaration made by it on 16tu April 2023”.
She argued that INEC had no powers to cancel or declare a declaration which has been made as null and void.
“The only court with the power on a declaration made from the conduct of an election is only the Election Petition Tribunal set up by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended)”, the Applicants averred.