The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has challenged the powers of the court to stop the collation and announcement of the Bauchi State governorship election result which was held on March 9. This comes barely 24 hours after a Federal High Court in Abuja, restrained INEC from proceeding with the poll in the state.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, had ordered the commission to stop the process having received an application from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and incumbent governor of the state, Mohammed Abubakar.
But not satisfied with the ruling, INEC through its legal department, insisted that the court has no jurisdiction to interfere in post-election litigation.
INEC’s legal officer, Hassan Adamu, filed a counter affidavit, on the basis that any post-election matter is exclusively reserved for the Election Petitions tribunal and not for any regular court.
The electoral body had declared the governorship election in Bauchi inconclusive after the margin between the two leading candidates was said to be less than the number of cancelled votes. INEC had later said it would resume the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa LGA after considering a report submitted by its fact-finding committee.
After the court’s judgment, INEC National Commissioner, Voter’s Education and Publicity Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, said the Commission in compliance with the court order would stay action on the collation of results of the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa local government but would proceed with the process for the state assembly election result.