A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, would have to decide if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has the to cancel the declaration made by Hudu Ari, Resident Electoral Commission (REC), of Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election.
INEC had not only quickly intervened to denounce the declaration as invalid, as the REC could not usurp the powers of the Returning Officer (RO), to make such a pronouncement, but on Monday, barred him from going close to commission’s office.
Dahiru, was at the Federal High Court in Abuja to intervene and stay the hands of INEC from voiding her declaration as the winner of the election in line with the provisions of the law.
Specifically, the Senator in a petition via an ex parte motion, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023, was filed on April 17, to review the decision of the commission in voiding the declaration and halting further action on the matter.
Hudu had made the declaration on Sunday, while the commission was still awaiting results from 10 local government areas, from Saturday’s supplementary election, which INEC held on to make its own pronouncements.
But Binani in her prayer, is asking the court for leave to allow her to seek, “an order of prohibition and certiorari removing to this court for the purpose of being set aside the administrative decision of the 1st respondent made on 16th April, 2023 in respect of the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa state held on the 18th of March, 2023 and the supplementary election held on 15th April, 2023.”
She also wanted an order preventing the first respondent, its agent, assign or any person acting on its behalf from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa state held on the 18th of March and the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023, pending the determination of the application for judicial review.”
She claimed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Ahmadu Fintiri, governor of the state, resorted to stirring violence after she was declared the winner, adding that INEC staff were caught up in the violence and were manhandled which caused the electoral commission to cancel the initial declaration.
Arguing that INEC lacked the power to cancel an election result as such power is constitutionally vested in the election petition tribunal, Binani, through her lawyers led by Hussaini Zakariyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), maintained that a judicial review existed to enable the superior court to checkmate the actions and decisions of inferior courts as well as the legislative and administrative arm of government including agencies and public officers.
She further argued that INEC, being an agency of the government, could have its actions, records, and decisions checked by the court which could also nullify such actions and not the commission itself.