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Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking To Halt Bauchi Collation [Update]

The federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resume collation of results in Bauchi governorship election.

The incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed Abubakar had challenged INEC’s decision with INEC as the sole defendant.

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.

Governor Abubakar had sued INEC to challenge its 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.

Abubakar and his party, the APC 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.

Justice Ekwo, in his judgment, 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.

He, therefore, struck out the suit and deferred it to the Tribunal.

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