The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over a judgment stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from continuing with the collation of results in Bauchi state.
Inyang Ekwo of a federal high court in Abuja had delivered the judgement based on a suit filed by Mohammed Abubakar, governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election.
Abubakar had headed to the court to challenge INEC’s decision to continue collating the result instead of conducting supplementary election as earlier planned.
Ekwo held that the order would last till the determination of the suit brought before the court by the plaintiff.
But in an affidavit sworn by Uche Secondus, PDP national chairman, the party said Ekwo’s judgment violated the constitution and electoral act.
PDP said by granting an ex parte order stopping INEC from going ahead with the collation of results in Bauchi, Ekwo violated Section 87 (11) of the electoral act which states that no court has the power or jurisdiction to stop any election pending the determination of a suit.
The opposition party argued that the matter ought to have been handled by an election petition tribunal already constituted by the chief justice of Nigeria.
It added that said issues of collation of results and declaration of winners is a post-election event and thus falls under the jurisdiction of the election petition tribunal.
“Despite this clear provision of the law, Justice Ekwo decided to hear the application of Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), within twenty four hours on 19th March, 2019 and issued an order on INEC not to continue with the election until the case before him is finally decided,” the affidavit read.
“That the collation of results is a post-election event and under section 87(11) of the Electoral Act, no court has the power or jurisdiction to stop any election pending the determination of a suit.
“That an election includes voting, collation of results and the declaration of results.
“That as a result of the order on the Independent National Electoral Commission, the conclusion of the Bauchi State Governorship election which was to take place on 19th March 2019 was stalled.
“That the order of Justice Ekwo was made contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended dealing without fair hearing and also section 87(11) of the Electoral Act.
“That the Chief Justice of Nigeria has constituted the various Election Petition Tribunals in Nigeria to handle such cases and the assumption of jurisdiction by Justice Inyang Ekwo is an affront to the constitution and electoral wishes of the people of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area and Bauchi State.”