A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, over his declaration of Aisha Dahiru Binani, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as governor in the March 18 election.
Justice Donatus Okorowo gave the order on Monday, after Mr. Michael Aondoaka (SAN), counsel to Binani, moved an ex-parte motion to the effect.
In the ex-parte motion, the APC candidate sued INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
While moving the motion, Aondoaka argued that until the governorship election petition tribunal in Adamawa State decides the fate of his client in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), the prosecution of Yunusa-Ari cannot be said to be valid.
He said the decision of INEC to file an action against any person involved in the declaration of Binani on April 15, as winner of the supplementary poll in the state when the tribunal was yet to determine the petition of his client, would deprive her of Section 285(6) of the law which gives 180 days within which the petition filed on May 6, should be dispensed with.
The senior lawyer, who informed the court that though a similar suit was earlier filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo where a judicial review of INEC’s action was sought, said the sister court ordered Binani to approach a tribunal with her suit, having been an election-related matter.
He said an undertaking had been signed to prove to the court that the present suit was not frivolous.
According to Aondoaka, they were ready to face any cost should the court find the case to be frivolous.
After listening to Andoaka, Justice Okorowo ordered the parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
The judge, who adjourned the matter till July 18 for a hearing, ordered the respondents to show cause while the reliefs sought by Binani should not be granted.