The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday dismissed the suit filed by Aisha Dahiru-Ahmed, candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the last Adamawa governorship election.
According to The PUNCH, Her attorney, Mohammed Sheriff, told the court of the plaintiff’s notice of discontinuance during Wednesday’s sessions and asked the court to dismiss the case.
After the petition for discontinuance, Justice Inyang Ekwo reminded the Sheriff that he was required to address the court regarding whether or not the court had jurisdiction to hear the case pursuant to an order issued on the last postponed date.
The attorney pleaded for an order to dismiss the case after informing the court that numerous issues had arisen between the last date of adjournment and today.
However, the judge decided that dismissing the case was the proper course of action because Sheriff had disobeyed the court’s order.
“I hereby make an order dismissing this suit,” Justice Ekwo declared.
Binani had filed an ex parte motion with the court, but it was denied on April 18th.
Ekwo instead directed the APC candidate’s attorney to argue for the court’s jurisdiction before the hearing of the substantive motion.
While the judge was eager to hear Sheriff’s case, he insisted that Sheriff’s attorney first address the court on the matter of jurisdiction.
He ruled that the application and the question of jurisdiction would be heard simultaneously on April 26 and deferred the case until then.
However, on April 19, the electoral umpire announced that Peoples Democratic Party candidate and current governor Ahmadu Fintiri had won the election.
With the move ex-parte FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023, Binani and the APC filed suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the PDP’s candidate for governor, Fintiri.
Binani’s attorney, Hussaini Zakariyau, SAN, had petitioned the court to overturn INEC’s administrative decision from April 16 regarding Binani’s declaration as the winner of the governorship elections held on March 18 and the supplementary vote of April 15.
She is also asking for an order of prohibition and certiorari, which would stop INEC and its representatives from declaring a winner in the polls until her application for judicial review is resolved.
The application was filed in accordance with Section 251 (1)q & r of the 1999 Constitution, Section 149 & 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Order 34 Rules 1a, 3(1) & 3(2) a, b, c of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure Rules), 2019.
Binani argued that the motion should be granted because, following the tally of votes, INEC declared her the victor, but the PDP and its candidate, Governor Fintiri, resorted to violence, leading to the assault and manhandling of an INEC employee.
She claimed that the situation had prompted INEC to rescind the first statement despite the fact that only the electoral petition tribunal had the authority to do so.
Binani claimed that INEC’s decision to nullify her declaration was an affront to the authority of the election petition tribunal, the sole court with jurisdiction over declarations related to the conduct of elections.
She claimed in her application that the government’s legislative and administrative branches, as well as agencies and public servants, are subject to judicial review that allows the higher court to overturn their decisions.
The petitioner argues further that the INEC, as a government entity, is subject to judicial review of its proceedings, records, and decisions, and that only a court, and not the INEC itself, can nullify the actions of an INEC officer.
Recall that Premium Politics reported that Binani, had sought for judicial review of the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission to reverse her earlier announcement as winner of the election by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yunusa-Ari.