Court Refuses to Stop Collation, Announcement of Rivers Election Results


Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday refused to stop the collation of results of Rivers State Governorship and House of Assembly election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 9, 2019.

INEC had last week following the report of its fact finding committee on Rivers election fixed Wednesday, March 20, for the resumption of collation, conclusion and announcement of the remaining results in the election.

The electoral body had suspended the electoral process after some military personnel and armed men invaded it’s collation center in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

In announcing the resumption of collation of the results, the electoral body, disclosed that it had in its custody results from 17 local governments areas.

Following the announcement, the African Action Congress (AAC), Engr. Biokpomabo Awara and Ben-Gurion Peter, filed an exparte application before the court, seeking to stop INEC from resuming collation of the election results.

Defendants in the exparte application are the INEC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a bench ruling, Justice Ekwo who refused to grant the application held that the reliefs sought by the applicants are “such that the court cannot grant without hearing from the other party”.

Justice Ekwo however ordered the plaintiffs to put the respondents on notice to come and show cause why the prayers of the plaintiffs should not be granted.

The judge subsequently adjourned till March 25 for parties to address him on the propriety or otherwise of granting the order.

The plaintiffs represented by Tawo Tawo SAN, in an exparte application moved in the court Wednesday, prayed for an order to stop INEC from going ahead to resume, conclude and announce the results of the March 9 election.

Earlier, Justice Ekwo had drawn the attention of the plaintiffs’ counsel to social media reports to the effect that he had already stopped the electoral body from going ahead to take further action on the March 9, Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.

While stating that there is no judge by the name Inyang Ewa, who was alleged to have granted the purported order, he warned counsel and litigants from spreading false news.

Justice Ekwo said it was wrong for anybody or group to resort to self help because such self help had been prohibited in the judiciary.

The plaintiffs had in their originating summons prayed the court to stop INEC from resuming collation and conclusion of the March 9 election results in Rivers State and from declaring any person or group as winners of the poll.

The plaintiffs specifically applied for an order compelling the electoral body to maintain the inconclusiveness of the election as announced earlier.