The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Tuesday asked a Federal High Court, Abuja,for extension of time to file its processes in the suit seeking the nullification of the gubernatorial primary election of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue State.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its governorship candidate in Benue State, Rt. Hon Titus Uba are seeking the nullification of the gubernatorial primary election of the APC in Benue state on the grounds that the party failed to comply with relevant sections of the Electoral Act, 2022, Nigerian Constitution as well as INEC regulations and guidelines for nomination of candidates for the 2023 general elections.
When the case came up for continuation of hearing, counsel to INEC, Anthony Onyere informed the court of that he has a motion for extension of time to file his counterpart affidavit and written address to the originating summons.
Counsel to the PDP and Rt. Hon Titus Uba, Chief Sebastine Hon, SAN, did not object to the application for extension of time, he confirmed service of the motion on him while he was in court and reminded the court that the counsel to INEC has appeared in the matter in the past but didn’t file any process.
He told the court that he was not opposing the application for extension of time to enable the electoral umpire file its processes.
Counsel to Hyacinth Alia, Sunday Ameh, SAN, submitted that he has been served the motion but has not taken a look at it.
He asked the court for a stand down to enable him go through the application.
Counsel to Godwin Ityoachimin, Jerry Aondo, who held the brief of Mathew Burkaa, SAN, also supported application for a stand down,while counsel to the APC, Fidelis Mnyim also confirmed service of the motion by INEC.
Counsel to Herman Hembe, Daniel Penda submitted that though he was not served the motion, he was not opposing the motion for extension of time filed by INEC.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed however granted a stand down for 30 minutes.
At the resumption of the hearing after the stand down, the judge noted that the motion by INEC was only served on the parties that were in court and parties who were absent were not served.
Justice Mohammed held that service has to be effected on the parties in a matter for a court to assume jurisdiction.
Justice Mohammed ordered that service of the motion by INEC and hearing notice be served on the parties in the matter that were not in court, and adjourned the matter to November 8,2022, by 2pm.
Still in the same court, the suit instituted by the PDP, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Governor Samuel Ortom, and Senator Patrick Abba Moro, seeking to restrain INEC from accepting names of candidates from the APC for the 2023 senatorial elections in Benue State was also adjourned to November 8, 2022.
When the case came up, Anthony Onyere who appeared for INEC filed a motion for extension of time to enable the commission file its counter affidavit and written address to the originating summons.
Parties in the matter that were not in court were not served a copy of the motion.
In the spirit of fair hearing, the judge adjourned the matter to November 8,2022 and ordered that hearing notice be served on the parties that were not in court.
By David Mzer