Why we con­ducted LG polls — Ji­gawa SIEC

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Aliyu M. Ha­m­agam, Dutse

The Ji­gawa State In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (JGSIEC) went ahead and con­ducted the last lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions in the state be­cause con­trary to claims by some ag­grieved politi­cians, an ex parte or­der granted by the Fed­eral High Court, Dutse that pur­ported to stop the elec­tion elapsed af­ter four­teen days, the com­mis­sion’s le­gal coun­sel, Bar­ris­ter Adamu Mukhtar, said yes­ter­day.

He said un­der the Fed­eral High Court’s rules, an ex parte or­der shall not last for more than 14 days af­ter fil­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to vary same, which JGSIEC did on June 15, this year.

Mukhtar was speak­ing to Daily Trust on the suit filed by mem­bers of the Ji­gawa State PDP’s Makarfi fac­tion seek­ing to an­nul the last lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions.

Giv­ing a back­ground to the is­sue, he said JGSIEC was faced with a prob­lem when two PDP fac­tions sub­mit­ted lists of can­di­dates. He said the com­mis­sion ac­cepted can­di­dates cer­ti­fied by Se­na­tor Ali Modu Sher­iff, who was the party’s na­tional chair­man be­fore the Supreme Court rul­ing on the dis­pute.

Makarfi fac­tion mem­bers then in­sti­tuted an ac­tion be­fore Jus­tice Sabi’u Yahuza of the Fed­eral High Court, Dutse against the com­mis­sion, Se­na­tor Ali Modu Sher­iff, PDP Chair­man Ji­gawa Chap­ter and INEC. He said INEC “was de­cep­tively joined as a party in or­der to con­fer ju­ris­dic­tion on the Fed­eral High Court, know­ing fully that such court has no busi­ness with lo­cal govern­ment coun­cil elec­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, “The suit was filed via orig­i­nat­ing sum­mons, briefs were ex­changed be­tween coun­sel and a date was fixed for same to be moved on the 13th June, 2017 only to no­tice an ex parte or­der pasted on so­cial me­dia on the 12th June, 2017 re­strain­ing the Com­mis­sion.” The Com­mis­sion was for­mally served with the said or­der at the court premises on June 13th while its lawyers filed a mo­tion on June 15 to vary or dis­charge the said or­der be­fore the same court. He said “the court re­fused or ne­glected to entertain such mo­tion and in­stead ad­journed the mat­ter to Septem­ber 20th 2017.”

He said since the ex parte or­der had lapsed on June 29, JGSIEC “made it known to the pub­lic on June 29 that the said ex parte or­der had elapsed and ex­pressed its readi­ness to con­duct the Lo­cal Govern­ment Coun­cil Elec­tion as sched­uled on the July 1, 2017.”

Bar­ris­ter Mukhtar how­ever said the same day, June 29, the com­mis­sion’s lawyers were served with an­other or­der dated June 29th but pur­ported to be moved and granted on the June 19,th June, 2017. He said “the or­der of June 19th 2017 has no re­quired roots be­fore the court as there was no mo­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion made to that ef­fect.” He said “as­sum­ing with­out con­ced­ing that the or­der was ob­tained ap­pro­pri­ately, same does not re­fer to the mo­tion filed on be­half of the com­mis­sion on the 15th June 2017. In­stead it refers to the pur­ported mo­tion filed by so­lic­i­tors to Dr. Ali Modu Sher­iff and hence there is no way it can trun­cate the 14th days life span granted by the le­gal in­stru­ments quoted and re­ferred above.”

He said the com­mis­sion, “hav­ing re­gard to the above and the le­gal ad­vice ob­jec­tively ob­tained from its le­gal depart­ment went ahead and con­duced the said Lo­cal Govern­ment Coun­cil Elec­tion.”

He ex­pressed sur­prise that though the Fed­eral High Court Dutse re­fused to hear their lawyer’s plea that it had no ju­ris­dic­tion to hear the case, it ruled af­ter 15 months in a case filed by the same PDP lead­ers last year ask­ing it to or­der JGSIEC to con­duct lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions that it had no ju­ris­dic­tion.

He said af­ter the elec­tion was con­ducted, the PDP lead­ers filed con­tempt of court charges against JGSIEC’s com­mis­sion mem­bers in their per­sonal ca­pac­i­ties for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing the ex parte or­der even though Sec­tion 11 Ji­gawa State In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion cap J19 laws of Ji­gawa State 2012 “makes mem­bers of the com­mis­sion legally pro­tected from le­gal li­a­bil­ity for any act or omis­sion or de­fault as long as such act, omis­sion or de­fault is done in good faith.”

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