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Adamawa Supplementary Poll: Judge raises doubts about Binani’s suit

April 18, 2023

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, raised doubts about its power to hear an application by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State, Aisha Dahiru-Ahmed, popularly called Binani, over the governorship election in the state.

Binani had filed the suit to seek an order validating an illegal declaration by an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) awarding her victory in the election.

Disputes relating to the conduct of an election or the declaration of its results are usually resolved at the election petition tribunal, a point that triggered the doubts raised by the judge about whether a regular court could hear the Adamawa matter.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo, directed Binani’s lawyer, Mohammed Sheriff, to return to court on 26 April to address him on the point of law.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Ari, had illegally declared Mrs Dahiru the governor-elect, following last Sunday’s supplementary election in the state.

Mr Ari, in making the declaration, attempted to usurp the power of the collation officer appointed by INEC. The electoral body had swiftly reversed Mr Ari’s declaration and announced that the legitimate collation and announcement of final results of the election would continue at a later date.

INEC also barred Mr Ari from its premises immediately. On Wednesday the commission said it had referred him to the police for investigations and possible prosecution.

Mrs Dahiru has her main rival in the election in Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored the most votes during the main election on 18 March.


Binani, through her lawyer, Hussaini Zakariyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, sought a judicial review of the administrative decision of INEC on 16 April in respect of her declaration as the winner of the governorship election held on 18 March and the supplementary poll of 15 April.

She sued INEC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Governor Fintiri, as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.

She sought an order of prohibition and certiorari preventing INEC and its agents from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner of the elections pending the determination of her application for judicial review.


Although, Binani’s application filed ex parte, was meant to be heard on Wednesday in the absence of other parties sued as defendants in the case, a lawyer, Afeez Matomi, announced appearance for Governor Fintiri, the 3rd respondent, in the suit.

Mr Ekwo asked Mr Matomi if he had been served.

The lawyer told the court that though they were yet to be served, they had filed a motion to counter part of Binani’s prayers.

He said they got wind of the ex-parte motion through social media, hence, they decided to file a motion.

But the judge declined to listen to Mr Fintiri’s lawyer insisting that things must be done according to law.

Mr Ekwo then turned to Binani’s lawyer, Mohammed Sheriff.

Doubtful if he had the jurisdiction to hear the suit, Mr Ekwo ordered Mr Sheriff to address him on the point of law on Tuesday.

The lawyer said his ex-parte motion was filed on April 17 and that he was ready to move it.

Mr Ekwo directed that the application would be taken together with the issue of jurisdiction on the next adjourned date.

He then adjourned the matter until 26 April for hearing of the motion and the submissions on the jurisdiction of the court.

Meanwhile, INEC is expected to resume the announcement of the final results of the election any moment.

Grounds of suit

Giving the grounds why the motion should be granted, Binani stated that after the collation of results, INEC declared her as the winner of the elections but the PDP and its candidate, Governor Fintiri, resorted to fighting and causing a public disturbance which led to the beating and manhandling of an INEC staffer.

This crisis, she said, led INEC to cancel the initial declaration which it had no power to do as only the election petition tribunal is vested with such powers.

By cancelling her declaration, Binani contended that INEC usurped the powers of the election petition tribunal which is the only court vested with powers on a declaration from the conduct of an election.

In the application, she averred that a judicial review exists to enable the superior court to checkmate the actions and decisions of inferior courts as well as the legislative and administrative arm of government including agencies and public officers.

The applicant further submitted that the INEC, being an agency of the government, can have its actions, records, and decisions checked by the court and only a court can nullify the actions of an INEC official and not the INEC itself. (Premium Times)

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