In a recent development, a federal high court in Abuja has issued a restraining order to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), preventing the prosecution of Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Adamawa state.
Yunusa-Ari sparked controversy when he declared Aisha Binani Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the Adamawa governorship election before the collation of results was completed. INEC promptly nullified the announcement and summoned the REC to its headquarters in Abuja. Following this, INEC wrote to the police, urging them to prosecute Yunusa-Ari for the electoral infraction.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently approved the suspension of the Adamawa REC pending the completion of an investigation by the police. However, on Thursday, INEC revealed that they had filed a six-count charge against Yunusa-Ari before a high court in Yola, with the trial scheduled to commence on July 12.
Meanwhile, Aisha Binani, through her counsel, Michael Aondoaka, filed an ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/935/2023, seeking to halt Yunusa-Ari’s prosecution. Aondoaka argued that the prosecution could not be considered valid until the election petition tribunal determines his client’s case in accordance with Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022. He emphasized that the ongoing action by INEC would impact the tribunal’s proceedings.
After considering the arguments, Donatus Okorowo, the presiding judge, ordered all parties involved to maintain the status quo ante bellum until the matter is heard and determined. INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) have been directed to provide reasons why the reliefs sought by Binani should not be granted. The case has been adjourned until July 18 for further proceedings.