Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting a contemporary election to exchange 14 Edo House of Assembly members-elect but to be inaugurated to take their seats.
The electoral physique was restrained from conducting any election to fill the 14 seats declared vacant, pending the listening to and willpower of the substantive swimsuit in opposition to the management of the home.
The restraining order was a sequel to a movement ex-parte filed by the members-elect.
The state legislators-elect who instituted the authorized motion embrace; Victor Edoro, Washington Osifo, Vincent Uwadiae, Kingsley Ugabi, Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Sunday Aghedo and Chris Okaeben.
Others are Crosby Eribo, Aliyu Oshiomhole, Oshomah Ahmed, Ganiyu Audu, Ugiagbe Dumez, Uyi Ekhosuehi and Eric Okaka.
They had approached the courtroom, looking for an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from conducting by-elections in respect of their seats within the Edo State House of Assembly purportedly declared vacant by the speaker on December 4, 2019, pending the listening to and willpower of the movement on discover.
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The swimsuit dated December 10, 2019, has as respondents Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Honourable Frank Okiye and INEC as first and second defendants respectively.
Delivering ruling within the ex-parte with swimsuit: quantity: FHC/ABJ/CS/1582/19 and filed by Damian Dodo SAN, on behalf of the 14 lawmakers, Justice Mohammed ordered that events within the swimsuit shouldn’t take any additional steps pending the willpower of the movement earlier than the courtroom.
The choose had on the final listening to ordered the primary and second defendants to seem earlier than the courtroom on December 19 to point out trigger why the interim injunction being sought by the plaintiffs vide their movement ex-parte shouldn’t be granted.
Justice Mohammed additionally ordered that the enrolled order to point out trigger on movement ex-parte for an interim injunction, movement on discover for interlocutory injunction and the originating processes must be served on the respondents.
The choose, who ordered that listening to discover be issued on the respondents, had then adjourned the matter until December 19 for Okiye and INEC to seem and present trigger.
Although the courtroom did sit on the adjourned date (December 19, 2019) events within the swimsuit got January 7, 2020, for additional continuing.When the matter got here up at this time, counsel to the candidates, Ikhide (*14*) reminded the courtroom concerning the movement ex-parte filed on December 10, 2019.
“My Lord, my learned friend from INEC is here today,” he mentioned.
Responding, INEC’s lawyer, Femi Adeyemi, although acknowledged that the fee was served with all of the processes, together with the enrolled order, mentioned it was not served with the movement ex-parte.
Adeyemi, who instructed the courtroom that INEC’s place on the matter was to be impartial, mentioned the electoral umpire didn’t oppose the applying filed by the plaintiffs.
“My Lord, our position is that we want to retain our neutrality,” he instructed the choose.
He hinted that he had not filed an affidavit in help of the fee’s place.
Justice Mohammed, nonetheless, mentioned primarily based on provisions of Order 26 Rules 11, 12 and 13 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, the place a defendant is requested to come back and present trigger, the defendant is predicted to file an affidavit in proof and never a bit of oral proof.
“What you are telling me here is evidence. I understand you very well. You filed an affidavit that you want to be neutral.
“File an affidavit and explain there even if it is two paragraphs, but not to stand at the bar and explain,” the choose mentioned.
The courtroom held that INEC has determined to not oppose the purposes filed by the lawmakers, the fee ought to restrain itself from taking additional step for the reason that matter was nonetheless pending in courtroom.
Justice Mohammed, as well as, ordered INEC to file an affidavit in help of its place and to point out trigger why the interim injunction shouldn’t be granted earlier than the following adjourned date.
The Judge ordered that the first defendant, Mr Okiye, who was not represented in courtroom be issued with the listening to discover, adjourned the matter until January 28.