INEC holds supplementary Guber election in Adamawa tomorrow.
Court vacates restraining order, retains jurisdiction
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is holding the supplementary governorship election in Adamawa State tomorrow, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Kassim Geidam, has confirmed.
The decision followed yesterday’s vacation of an earlier restraining order by Justice Abdulaziz Waziri of the Yola High Court.
Geidam told a press conference that security agents had taken measures to make the exercise hitch-free, adding that more electoral officers would be deployed from the commission’s headquarters in Abuja to fortify the team on the ground.
To avoid overcrowding, the REC said only one agent per political party would be allowed at the polling units, just as he added that only people with permanent voter cards (PVCs) that would access the centers and exercise their franchise.
Consequently, the distribution of sensitive and other electoral materials, as well as the deployment of officials, takes place today.
Justice Waziri had granted an ex parte injunction sought by the Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) and its gubernatorial candidate halting the polls earlier scheduled for March 23.
Amid contestation that his court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, he had insisted that the state and federal high courts have concurrent jurisdiction to preside over election matters.
The judge maintained that since the exercise was inconclusive, it remained a pre-election matter and as such, his court could preside over it.
Reacting, Joe Kyari Gadzama SAN, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard-bearer, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, welcomed the ruling but disagreed with the judge over the issue of jurisdiction.
Citing Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as Sections 137 and 138 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the lawyer argued that the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday on the Bauchi dispute was unambiguous on jurisdiction on election issues.
Gadzama said once an election had commenced, it was no longer a pre-election case, pointing out that it was only the tribunal that could adjudicate over such matters.