Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court Abuja has ordered that the prosecution of the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, be halted.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were issued the order in light of Yunusa-Ari’s early declaration of Senator Aishatu “Binani” Dahiru as the winner of the Adamawa governorship election held on April 15.
Justice Okorowo gave the order following an ex-parte application brought by Mike Aondoaka, the counsel to Dahiru.
The court held that since the matter is before a tribunal and the parties have submitted to the law, the parties should maintain status quo on the matter, pending the conclusion of the suit.
At the mention of the suit, counsel to the applicant brought before the court two applications: a motion seeking to interpret Section 144 of the Electoral Act 2022 and an order seeking to maintain status quo in the matter, pending the determination of the suit.
The senior lawyer, in his application, drew the attention of the court to the fact that the matter is before a tribunal and it is time-bound, whereas Hudu Yunusa Ari, who is his star witness, is being harassed and prevented from giving evidence before the tribunal which if continues, would affect the process.
The lawyer urged the court to halt the harassment of Yunusa-Ari in the petition before a governorship tribunal challenging INEC’s declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and governor of the state, Ahmadu Fintiri, as the winner.
The lawyer told the court that, according to the relevant laws, since the applicant has been declared by INEC, the declaration can only be legally and authentically reversed if need be, by a court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal.
Senator Dahiru had earlier filed a suit before a sister court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo. The case was however dismissed following a notice of discontinuance filed by the applicants.