An Abuja Federal High Court, has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari.
Hudu had declared Aisha Dahiru Binani, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as winner of the Governorship poll of March 18.
Justice Donatus Okorowo made the order stopping Hudu’s prosecution today, July 10, after Michael Aondoaka (SAN), counsel to Dahiru, moved the ex-parte motion to the effect.
In the ex-parte motion, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, the APC candidate in the poll, sued INEC, Attorney-General.of the Federation (AGF) and another as as respondents.
Aondoaka, while moving the motion, argued that until the election petition tribunal decides the fate of his client in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the prosecution of Yunusa-Ari cannot be said to be valid.
He said that the decision of INEC to file action against any person involved in Dahiru’s April 15 declaration as winner of the supplementary poll in the state when the tribunal is yet to determine the petition of his client, would deprive her of Section 285 (6) of the law, which gives 180 days within which the petition filed on May 6 should be dispensed with.
The senior lawyer told the court that though a similar suit was earlier filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo where a judicial review of INEC’s action was sought, but that the sister court ordered Binani to approach a tribunal with her suit, having been an election-related matter.
He said that an undertaking had been signed to prove to the court that the present suit is not frivolous.
He said that in the undertaking, they were ready to face any cost should the court find the case to be frivolous.
After listening to Andoaka, Justice Okorowo ordered the parties to maintain status quo ante bellum, pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
The judge, who adjourned the matter to July 18 for hearing, ordered the respondents to show cause while the reliefs sought by Dahiru, popularly called “Binani,” should not be granted.