Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to go ahead with its plan to continue the collation of results of the governorship election in Bauchi State.
The order came following an ex-parte application filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mohammed Abubakar.
According to the court, the order is to last until the determination of the suit brought before the court by APC and its candidate.
INEC had declared the election in the state inconclusive after the collation and announcement of 19 out of 20 Local Government Areas.
The remaining LGA, Tafawa Balewa, was not announced following the disruption of collation by thugs.
INEC after investigation however later announced it would go ahead with collation of the results sourced from backup result sheets. But Governor Abubakar who is the candidate of the APC rejected the decision. Consequently, he went to court to seek redress.
Justice Ekwo had earlier ordered INEC to appear before the court today to explain why the order sought by the APC and its candidate ought not to be granted.
But instead, the representative of the commission, Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), filed a motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The lawyer representing the APC, Ahmed Raji, however told the court that the order issued earlier asking the electoral body to explain why the requests by the plaintiffs should not be granted had not been obeyed.
He further noted that the business of the court today was to determine whether the earlier order had been complied with.
INEC’s lawyer Inuwa admitted that the initial order had not been complied with, but however requested to address the court orally, a move which was refused by the judge, saying that since the ex-part application was in writing and duly served on INEC, the defendant must consequently appear before the court with a written response.
Justice Ekwo in her ruling granted the interim injunction retraining INEC from resuming collation of the Tafawa Balewa LGA result pending the determination of the application filed by the APC and its candidate.
She further ordered the plaintiff and the defendant to appear before court on March 20 to present their positions.