Following the nod given by the Adamawa State High Court yesterday to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed with the supplementary governorship election in the state, the commission has fixed tomorrow for the poll.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Kassim Gaidam, announced this yesterday during a chat with newsmen at the INEC state office in Yola.
He said the decision was taken after due consultation with the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
He said efforts were being made with the various security agencies to ensure that the violence, which characterised supplementary election in some other states, does not repeat itself in Adamawa.
He added that to facilitate a hitch-free process, only voters with permanent voter cards (PVCs) will be allowed into voting centres in the places where the supplementary election will hold.
The governorship election in Adamawa remains inconclusive weeks after INEC halted the process on the basis of insufficient margin of win between the two leading candidates of APC and PDP.
The supplementary governorship election in the state had been scheduled for 44 polling units in 14 local government areas but it could not hold on March 23, which it was originally scheduled following a court injunction against it.
Similar supplementary polls held in five other affected states last Saturday. The states are Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi and Plateau.
The decision by INEC to hold the rerun tomorrow followed the vacation of the order against the election by the Adamawa State High Court at a sitting in Yola earlier in the day.
After the conduct of the governorship election on March 9, the candidate of the Movement for the Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD), Rev. Eric Theman, went to the court to allege omission of the MRDD logo from the ballot paper, and asked the court to annul the election and stop the rerun already announced for units where voting was cancelled.
The court immediately granted an injunction to stop the rerun and continued proceedings to rule on arguments raised at subsequent sittings, including the court’s jurisdiction over the case.
At the sitting yesterday morning, the court presided over by Justice Abdul’Aziz Waziri ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The court fixed today for hearing of the originating motion by MRDD asking the court to nullify the first Adamawa governorship election conducted on March 9.
The party alleged that INEC had removed its logo during the election.
Reacting to the order vacating the order, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Okechukwu Udeze, commended the judge for reversing himself in the interest of justice.
On his part, counsel to the PDP governorship candidate, Alhaji Umaru Fintiri, Mr. JK Gadzama SAN, poured encomiums on the judge, saying his ruling was in order because only an elections tribunal has the jurisdiction to give an injunction against INEC and not a conventional court.
Gadzama said he was happy that the judge understood the issues involved and decided to allow INEC to go ahead with the conduct of the election in Adamawa State.
APC Rejects Extra Election Date
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has rejected the decision of INEC to hold the extra election tomorrow.
The Organising Secretary of the party, Mr. Ahmed Lawal, announced the party’s decision in an interview with newsmen in Yola.
Lawal said INEC did not consult the party before fixing the new date for the poll.
He alleged that information had filtered out earlier that the election would be held tomorrow.
It said: “INEC failed to consult with political parties involved in this election before going ahead to fix a new date for the re-run.
“We, therefore, became suspicious due to rumours in town earlier that supplementary election would be conducted on Thursday and it turned out to be true.
“We are not afraid of re-run election, but INEC should have done the right thing.
“How can you fix an election on a working day? Are civil servants not going to participate in the election?
“We are going to forward our protest on the matter to INEC,’’ he said.