The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave the Independent National Electoral Commission the leeway to continue and conclude the collation of the results of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo set aside his earlier order of March 19, 2019, which stopped the collation of the results.
After declining jurisdiction to hear the substantive case, the judge ruled in his judgment on Monday that “the defendant (INEC) should be allowed to continue its constitutional duty”.
“There is no legal impediment before the defendant to go on with the decision of the defendant to execute its decision in its press release,” the judge ruled.
The suit was filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the governorship election in the state, Governor Mohammed Abubakar.
INEC is the sole defendant.
The claimant had sued INEC to challenge the commission’s decision to resume and conclude collation and announce the final results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state, after the election in the state had been declared inconclusive.
The APC and Abubakar, who is aiming to be elected for a second term as governor, had contended that INEC having announced that there would be a supplementary election, could not reverse the decision without the backing of an order of court.
But INEC had insisted that only the Election Petition Tribunal had the jurisdiction to hear the matter since the election had already held in part.
However, in his judgment, Justice Ekwo agreed that his court and the Election Petition Tribunal had concurrent jurisdiction to review the decision of INEC to reverse its earlier decision to conduct a supplementary election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area until the final results of the election are announced.
He noted, however, that it was more appropriate to allow the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the complaints of the plaintiffs since the tribunal would have a broader jurisdiction to hear the complaint and the ones that would arise after the final results had been announced, and the winner returned.