• Fintiri, others approach Appeal Court over jurisdiction
A state High Court sitting in Yola yesterday dismissed an oral ex-parte motion by counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting today’s supplementary governorship election in Adamawa State.
Ruling, Justice Abdullaziz Waziri held that he lacked powers to decide for the commission how to discharge its constitutional duties.
“I cannot probate and reprobate. Your request will constitute abuse of court processes. So, I cannot avail myself to abuse of law. The commission can go ahead and conduct the election. You as the plaintiffs, have up to Supreme Court since my court is not court of final jurisdiction,” the judge stated.
On notice before the Appeal Court, Yola filed by Professor Maxwell Gidado, lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard-bearer, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, is a prayer seeking to suspend hearing of the case by Justice Waziri for alleged want of jurisdiction.
The judge, who had insisted to deliver judgment tomorrow, suddenly aligned with Mr. Mustafa Shaba Ibrahim, counsel to MRDD, and Mr. Smart Ukoha, lawyer to APC, who argued that the notice of appeal was not properly filed by the defendants and should therefore be discountenanced.
There was however, a mild drama when Ukoha told the court that he supported the oral motion by MRDD to stop the polls. There had been insinuations that the ruling APC administration in the state was behind the suit purportedly instituted by the MRDD flag-bearer, Eric Theman Biyaya.
The defendants in the notice of appeal canvassed four grounds of errors by the learned trial judge.
According to Gidado, Justice Waziri erred when he held that his court had concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal High Court and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to entertain the suit as constituted, thereby occasioning miscarriage of justice.
He said: “That the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the governorship election tribunal does not have jurisdiction to entertain the suit, thereby occasioning miscarriage of justice.
“That the ruling is against the weight of evidence and that the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the first and second defendants’ (INEC and Fintiri) suit was not statute-barred, thereby occasioning miscarriage of justice.”
The court thereafter adjourned hearing on the originating summon and reply of INEC on the motion brought by MRDD counsel for today and judgment tomorrow.