The Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an order to halt the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari, for declaring Aisha Dahiru, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, as governor in the March 18 election. The order was made by Justice Donatus Okorowo in response to an ex-parte motion filed by Dahiru’s counsel, Michael Aondoaka, SAN.
In the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, Dahiru sued INEC, along with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and another party, as respondents. Aondoaka argued that the prosecution of Yunusa-Ari cannot be deemed valid until the election petition tribunal determines the fate of his client in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022. He further stated that INEC’s decision to take action against individuals involved in Dahiru’s declaration as the winner of the supplementary poll in the state, while the tribunal is yet to rule on her petition, would deny her the rights provided by Section 285(6) of the law, which allows for the timely resolution of the petition within 180 days.
Aondoaka informed the court that a similar suit was previously filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo, seeking a judicial review of INEC’s actions. However, the sister court ordered Dahiru to approach the tribunal with her suit since it pertained to an election-related matter. Aondoaka assured the court that an undertaking had been signed to demonstrate that the current suit was not frivolous, and they were prepared to bear any costs if the court deemed the case to be frivolous.
Justice Okorowo, after considering Aondoaka’s arguments, ordered the parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the matter. The judge adjourned the case until July 18 for the hearing and instructed the respondents to present their reasons why the reliefs sought by Dahiru, also known as “Binani,” should not be granted.