The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday gave an order suspending the collation of the March 9 governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State till Wednesday.
The Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to appear on Wednesday for hearing of the main suit filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the election, Governor Mohammed Abubakar, who is seeking re-election.
The court will also on Wednesday hear INEC’s notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Justice Ekwo had earlier on Monday summoned the commission to appear before it on Tuesday after granting an ex parte application by the plaintiffs.
Although, INEC, in response to the Monday’s summons appeared in court, through its lawyer, Mr. Taminu Inuwa (SAN), on Tuesday, the judge re-adjourned till Wednesday noting that the commission only responded to the main suit instead of showing cause why the plaintiffs’ prayer to stop the collation of results should not be granted.
Inuwa also said the commission was challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the case of the plaintiff, but Justice Ekwo said that the court’s jurisdiction could not be challenged orally but only via a written application.
At the Tuesday’s proceedings attended by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), the judge ordered the parties to “maintain the res” which literally means parties should not take action that can affect the subject matter in the suit.