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The Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an order preventing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari. This decision comes in response to an ex-parte motion filed by Michael Aondoaka, the counsel representing Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate who was declared governor in the March 18 poll by Mr. Yunusa-Ari.

The ex-parte motion, labeled FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, was brought against INEC, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and another party. Mr. Aondoaka argued that the prosecution of Mr. Yunusa-Ari would be invalid until the election petition tribunal decides the fate of his client in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

Mr. Aondoaka further contended that INEC’s decision to initiate legal action against individuals involved in Ms. Dahiru’s declaration as the winner of the supplementary poll in Adamawa State, while the tribunal was yet to resolve his client’s petition, would deprive her of the 180-day period stipulated in Section 285(6) of the law for the resolution of the petition filed on May 6.

During the proceedings, Mr. Aondoaka informed the court that a similar lawsuit was previously filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo, who directed Ms. Dahiru to present her case before the tribunal, given that it involved an election-related matter.

The court was provided with an undertaking to demonstrate that the current lawsuit was not frivolous. The undertaking included a commitment to bear any costs if the court deemed the case to lack merit.

Justice Okorowo, after considering Mr. Aondoaka’s arguments, ordered the parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum until the matter is heard and determined. The judge adjourned the case until July 18 and instructed the respondents to present reasons why the reliefs sought by Ms. Dahiru should not be granted.

(NAN)

By Editor

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