The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Adamawa governorship election, Senator Aisha Binani Dahiru and the Party have filed a motion exparte before the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking a judicial review of INEC’s administrative decision regarding her declaration as the winner of the polls held on March 18 and the supplementary poll of April 15.
Binani, alongside her party, APC, is also seeking an order of Prohibition and Certiorari preventing the electoral umpire and its agents from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner of the election, pending the determination of her application for judicial review.
Recall that controversy trailed Binani’s declaration as the winner of the governorship election by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yususa, on Sunday, April 16.
However, INEC waded in immediately, saying the declaration was null and void.
Yususa, the REC, was thereafter suspended on Monday, April 17.
But, Senator Binani, unsatisfied with INEC’s move, has approached the Court.
Sued with the Independent National Electoral Commission were PDP and its governorship candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, listed as first, second, and third defendants, respectively.
The application was brought pursuant to order 34 Rules 1a, order 3(1) and 3(2) a, b, c, Order 6 of the Federal High Court (civil procedure rules) 2019, and Section 251 (1)q and r of the 1999 Constitution, as well as Section 149 and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
In the grounds upon which the application was brought, the senator argued, “The only court with power on a declaration made from the conduct of an election is only the election petition tribunal set up by the 1999 Constitution.”
The APC candidate maintained that after the completion of vote in the supplementary governorship election of April 15, and the subsequent collation of same results, INEC declared her as the winner of the governorship election, and she was thereby returned as elected.
The applicant said pursuant to the declaration, any dissatisfied candidate ought to resort to the tribunal for redress, if any.
She faulted the cancellation of her declaration on April 16, based on some crisis caused by PDP and Fintiri, stressing that INEC “has no powers to cancel or declare the declaration as been made as null and void”.
The applicants added, “INEC after the declaration of Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed as the winner usurped the powers of the Election Petition Tribunal and declared the declaration null and void.
“The first respondent does not have the requisite powers to declare an election in which the winner has been declared null and void.”
Binani, through her lawyers led by Hussaini Zakariyau, SAN, submitted that a judicial review existed to enable the superior court checkmate the actions and decisions of inferior courts as well as the legislative and administrative arms of government, including agencies and public officers.
The applicant further submits that INEC being an agency of the government can have its actions, records and decisions checked by the court and only a court can nullify the actions of an INEC official and not INEC itself.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday staged a protest calling on INEC to continue collating results.
The PDP spokesman, Mr. Felix Tangwami, who led a peaceful protest march to INEC office in Yola, said the party and its supporters had been pushed to the wall in the delay of the supplementary poll.
The protesters carried placards bearing inscriptions, such as, “enough of supplementary saga”, “INEC declare the Adamawa governorship results now or never”, “we can no longer wait”, and “Adamawa REC must go”.
They said PDP supporters would be forced to take any decisive action after the expiration of the ultimatum.
Tangwami accused the REC of being partisan in the decision to announce the APC candidate winner of the election, even as the process of election was still on-going.