Court Orders INEC to Conduct Supplementary Poll in Adamawa

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The Adamawa State High Court which gave an order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the state supplementary governorship election, has lifted the order.

In a ruling he delivered Tuesday, Justice Abdulazeez Waziri of High Court 4, also affirmed that his court has the jurisdiction to continue with the case that gave rise to the order.

The candidate of the Movement for Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD), Rev Eric Theman, had sued INEC immediately after the March 9 governorship election in the state, saying he was deprived of his right to be voted for as the logo of his party was not on the ballot paper for the election.

He had asked for an order cancelling the election and stopping the supplementary election which INEC fixed for March 26 after it declared the election inconclusive because the margin of lead between the two leading candidates was lower than cancelled votes. The court granted the injunction stopping the conduct of the supplementary election and fixed Tuesday for determination of its jurisdiction over the case, among other things.

At the resumed sitting Tuesday, Justice Abdulaziz Waziri lifted the order against the supplementary election but fixed Wednesday, March 27 to hear the originating motion by MRDD asking the court to nullify the governorship election conducted on March 9 on the grounds of the logo of his party not being on the ballot paper for the election.

Reacting to the judgement, the counsel to the MRDD, Bar Mustapha, said it was perfect, as there was no point granting accelerated hearing and an order to restrain conduct of elections.

“The main substances to our case is the removal of the MRDD party logo from ballot papers, which constitutes the disqualification from the entire election,” he said.

The counsel to INEC, Bar Stephen Ibian, also expressed satisfaction with the ruling, especially the vacation of the order against the supplementary election.

“We are happy over the court vacating the earlier order so that we can conduct our supplementary election in the state,” the INEC counsel said.

The Tuesday court witnessed the joining of Ahmadu Fintiri, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the PDP, in the case as second and third defendants.

Reacting to the development, counsel to Fintiri, Joe Kerry Gadzama (SAN), said, “Fortunately, we have today been made parties. She, the PDP governorship candidate Ahmadu Fintiri is now the second defendant while PDP is third defendant in the suit. This ruling came in late, it is a swift victory, but at the same time we are going to be vigilant it is not yet over.”

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