A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday declined to extend its July 10 interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Ari, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion.

Justice Donatus Okorowo, who refused to extend the order in a suit filed by Senator Aishatu Dahiru, also known as Binani, adjourned the matter until July 24 for hearing of the originating summons served on the defendants in the open court.

Binani had, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, sued INEC, the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as first to third defendants respectively.

Binani was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 Adamawa governorship election.

In the suit, the applicant is seeking the interpretation of Section 144 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and a preservative order seeking the maintenance of status quo in the matter pending the determination of the suit.

Binani’s counsel, Michael Aondoaka (SAN), in the ex-parte motion earlier filed, drew the attention of the court to the fact that the matter was before a tribunal and it was time-bound.

He, however, said that the star witness to his client, Hudu Yunusa Ari, was being harassed and prevented from giving evidence before the tribunal which if continued, would jeopardise the case of his client at the tribunal.

He then urged the court to halt the harassment of the star witness in the petition before a governorship election petition tribunal challenging INEC’s declaration of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Adamawa Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, as winner on Sunday, April 16.

Aondoaka told the court that according to the relevant laws, since Binani had been declared by the INEC, the declaration could only be legally and authentically reversed, if need be, by a court of competent jurisdiction or a tribunal.

Upon resumed hearing, INEC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that Binani had not served the defendants with the July 10 order of the court.

Jacobs, who also told the court that the defendants had not been served with the originating summons filed by Binani, challenged the competence and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter in a counter affidavit to the motion.

He told the court that the life span of the interim order elapsed on July 18 (today) but Aondoaka argued that the interim order had not elapsed as the defendants had not shown cause as directed by the court.

According to Aondoaka, the counsel to INEC cannot say he was not served with the processes of the court as he had joined issues in the matter.

Justice Okorowo, who refused to extend the order, adjourned the case until July 24 for hearing.

INEC is seeking the prosecution of the suspended REC for declaring Binani as winner of the rerun poll on April 15.



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