An Abuja Court has dismissed a suit by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State, Aishatu Binani, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the nullification of her declaration as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
Binani, through her counsel, Michael Andoaka (SAN), had filed the fresh suit before Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.
In the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, the APC candidate in the poll sued INEC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri as 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, respectively.
Binani sought a judicial review of the decision by INEC to reverse the earlier announcement that she won the poll, by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari.
Andoaka, while moving the motion today, July 10, argued that it was the election petition tribunal that was vested with the power to decide the fate of his client in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He said that the decision of INEC would deprive Binani of Section 285 (6), which gives 180 days within which her petition filed before the tribunal on May 6 could be dispensed with.
The lawyer, who informed the court that, though a similar suit was earlier filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo, said that the sister court ordered Binani to approach a tribunal her suit, having been an election-related matter.
Andoaka, therefore, sought a review of the INEC’s action.
He said that an undertaking had been signed to prove to the court that the present suit was not frivolous.
He said that in the undertaking that they were ready to face any cost should the court find the case to be frivolous.
After listening to Andoaka, Justice Okorowo stood down the matter for ruling.
Binani had, on April 26, withdrew the suit before Justice Ekwo, following the declaration of Fintiri as the winner of the governorship election.
Binani’s counsel, Mohammed Sheriff, upon resumed hearing in the matter, told Justice Ekwo that a notice of discontinuance had been filed to that effect and urged the court to strike out the case.
Justice Ekwo reminded Sheriff that an order was given on the last adjourned date directing him to address the court on whether the court had the jurisdiction to entertain the case or not.
The lawyer, who informed the court that a lot of issues had come up between the last date of adjournment and today, begged for an order striking out the suit.
The judge, however, held that since Sheriff had failed to go by the order of the court, the appropriate thing to do was to dismiss the matter.
Justice Ekwo later dismissed the suit.