By Martins Odeh
The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja dismissed a motion seeking to restrain Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the re-run election into the Anambra Central Senatorial District.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Abubakar Yahaya held that the earlier order made on Nov. 20, 2017 directing INEC to conduct election for the senatorial seat within 90 days could not be reversed.
The judge said such action was not recognised by the court’s practice direction, adding that the panel would not succumb to an invitation to make mockery of the judiciary.
“The court hereby refuses to grant the request for the postponement of the election already scheduled for Saturday,” the judge held.
Yahaya also said that the court could not compel INEC to make any undertaken to postpone the election over an application that was not ripe for hearing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we have not restrained INEC from conducting the election as ordered by this court on Nov. 20, 2017’’, Yahaya said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sen. Ani Okonkwo, an aggrieved aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had approached the appellate court with the application.
Okonkwo had through his counsel, Chief Solomon Umoh (SAN), sought for leave to appeal against the Nov. 20, 2017 decision of the court of appeal, which ordered INEC to conduct a re-run election in that senatorial district within 90 days.
Okonkwo had claimed that he was interested in challenging the decision of the appellate court last year as a senatorial aspirant.
He, however, averred that the application could not be entertained because most parties joined in the application were not served with the court processes.
In order to meander this legal tight corner, Okonkwo then applied for an adjournment to enable him effect service on all the parties.
Worried that he could lose out since the election had been slated for Jan.13, the applicant filed a motion seeking the court to bar INEC from holding the election pending the determination of his appeal.
He also urged the court to compel INEC’s counsel, Mr Tanimu Inuwa, to make an undertaken in the open court that INEC would not go ahead with the election having been aware of his pending application.
The counsel for INEC immediately objected to the request on the ground that huge public fund had been expended on preparation for the poll.
Inuwa also said he did not have the powers to make any undertaken to postpone the poll because of the subsisting appeal court judgment of Nov. 20.
He submitted that decision compelling his client to hold the election within 90 which was billed to expire on Jan.13.