Court Halts Edo Local Government Election

Court Halts Edo Local Government Election

All arrangements geared towards holding local government election in Edo state on April 19 were on Tuesday halted by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which restrained the Edo State government from going ahead. Ruling on an ex-parte motion Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the five prayers by counsel to the applicants, Dr Joshua Musa,

All arrangements geared towards holding local government election in Edo state on April 19 were on Tuesday halted by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which restrained the Edo State government from going ahead.

Ruling on an ex-parte motion Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the five prayers by counsel to the applicants, Dr Joshua Musa, SAN. Justice Taiwo held that he was of the well-considered view that the defendants must, on the interim, be restrained pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

The Judge said based on the arguments of the plaintiffs’ counsel and after perusing the application and the affidavit of urgency attached, the essence of granting injunction was to protect a lawful right.

“It is to preserve a status quo and protect the rights of parties,” citing previous cases to back the ruling.

Justice Taiwo said that “interim order is not to humiliate the respondents but to keep the res (subject matter) intact pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.”

The judge held that the applicants had shown the need to urgently grant the prayers, and said that “an irreparable damage would have been done to the applicants if not granted.”

He made a consequential order that the defendants be served within seven days after the receipt of the enrolled order, and adjourned the matter until April 14 for hearing of the substantive motion.

He said the hearing date would be subject to the Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho’s fiat that the matter be taken during FHC’s vacation.

Four members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State; Irene Enike Sylvester, Ayoboh Aloaye Francis, Edogun Aiyeki Toyin and Obioba Osabuohien Kelvin, had filed the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/423/2022 to seek for five prayers.

The motion dated March 31 and filed same day listed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney-General of Edo, Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC), Speaker, Edo House of Assembly; Clerk, Edo House of Assembly; PDP and Dr Iyorchia Ayu as 1st to 7th defendants respectively.

The plaintiffs urged the court to make “an order of interim injunction restraining the 3rd defendant (EDSIEC), its agents, servants, officers, privies howsoever described from conducting elections into local government councils in Edo State on the 19 of April, 2022 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st defendant (INEC), its agents, servants, officers, privies howsoever described from handing over the voters’ register covering all the local government councils in Edo State for the conduct of elections under the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-Enactinent) Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) to the 3rd defendant (EDSIEC) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

They also prayed the court to restrain INEC and EDSIEC from using the voters’ register for conducting the poll on April 19 or any other day pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The applicants further asked the court to give an interim order of injunction “restraining the defendants from giving effect to Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-Enactment) Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) which provides for the holding of election within 15 days from the date of publication of notice for the conduct of election pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 6th and 7th defendants from allowing any person being the product of the Edo State Local Government Council Election predicated upon the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-Enactment) Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) which provides for the holding of election within 15 days front the date of publication of notice for the conduct of election from participating in the primaries/congresses/convention of the 6th defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

The applicants had challenged the election on the grounds that the law, which was amended on March 21, was not subject to the country’s Electoral Act, which provides that candidates and political parties are entitled to 150 days’ notice before an election.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
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