Court halts INEC from proceeding with collation of Bauchi governorship result

A Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to stop the collation and announcement of the result of the governorship election in Bauchi State held on March 9, 2019.

The Commission had moved to resume the collation of the result that had been previously declared inconclusive by the INEC returning officer in the state, Mohammed Kyari.

There was a disruption of the collation process at Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which led to the cancellation of results for the entire LGA.

The margin of 4,059 votes between the two leading parties, All Progressives Congress and People’s Democratic Party, was less than 45,312, which was the number of cancelled votes after results from 19 local government were collated.

But the commission on Tuesday had announced the resumption of the result collation process after considering a report submitted by Kyari.

However, Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered the Commission to halt its proceedings based on an ex parte application filed by APC and the incumbent governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar.

The applicant prayed the court for an order of Interim Injunction restraining INEC from resuming, concluding or announcing the result of the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State in respect of the election to the office of Governor of Bauchi State.

Ekwo ordered INEC to appear before the court on Wednesday for hearing of the suit filed against it by the APC and its candidate in the election, Governor Abubakar, who is seeking re-election.

Ekwo affirmed that the court will give its final order after it concludes the suits brought before it by the two plaintiffs.

Although INEC represented, by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Tanimu Inuwa, approached the court with a motion challenging its jurisdiction.

But the Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ahmed Raji, however, objected to the application of INEC, informing the court that the order issued on Monday asking the electoral body to show cause why the requests of the plaintiffs should not be granted had not been obeyed.

The judge, however, ordered electoral umpire to halt the proceedings till the court give the final order.

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