The Independent National Electoral Commission has been sued by Senator Aisha Ahmed Binani, the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate of the Adamawa State governorship election for nullifying her declaration as Governor-elect.
In an ex-parte application filed on Monday before an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Binani is seeking an order preventing INEC and its agents from taking any further steps towards her declaration pending the determination of the judicial review application.
She submitted that an application for a judicial review existed to enable the superior court to checkmate the actions and decisions of inferior courts.
While Binani and her party APC are the applicants in the suit, INEC, PDP, and Ahmad Umar Fintiri are the respondents.
As stated in the application, it was brought pursuant to Order 34 Rules 1a, Order 3(1) & 3(2) a, b, c, Order 6 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) 2019, and Section 251 (1)q & r of the 1999 Constitution, as well as Sections 149 & 152 of the Electoral Act 2022.
Binani averred that following her declaration,
Governor Fintiri and his party resorted to fighting and disturbing the public peace, which led to the attack on an INEC National Commissioner.
She argued that INEC does not have the legal right to void her declaration as the winner as only a court can nullify the actions of an INEC official and not the INEC itself.
She contended that INEC’s decision usurped the powers of the Election Petition Tribunal which is the only court vested with powers on a declaration from the conduct of an election.
She said “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.”
“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.” Binani submitted.
Her counsel, Hussaini Zakariyau, SAN, said a judicial review exists to enable the superior court to checkmate the actions and decisions of lower courts as well as the legislative and administrative arm of government including agencies and public officers.
Consequently, they prayed to the court for an order preventing INEC and its agents from taking any further steps toward her declaration pending the determination of the judicial review application.
Recall that on Sunday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner announced Binani as the governor-elect of Adamawa State.
The announcement was against the provision of the electoral Act which states that only the returning officer is empowered to announce the result.
The state returning officer, Professor Mohammed Mele, of the Department of English and Linguistics, University of Maiduguri, Borno State was not at the venue when the declaration was made.
Following the declaration, INEC ordered the suspension of the coalition in the state and voided the pronouncement of Binani as the winner of the election.
Subsequently, INEC directed the REC to stay away from its offices and directed the Administrative Secretary to take full charge of INEC, Adamawa State, with immediate effect.
However, PDP has given INEC a 72-hour ultimatum to conclude the supplementary poll and declare the winner of the governorship election. Newswire