The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, granted an order of interim injunction restraining the Edo state Independent Electoral Commission, its agents, servants, officers, privies from conducting elections into Local Government Councils in the state on 19th April 2022 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by one Irene Enike Sylvester and 3 other applicants.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the motion-exparte, saying that he was of the well considered view that the alleged infraction in the Edo State electoral law vis-a-vis the Electoral Act 2022, as canvassed by the plaintiffs, is worth looking at by the court.
While the Edo State Commission is the 3rd defendant in the suit, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney-General of Edo State, Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, Clerk, Edo House of Assembly, People’s Democratic Party, and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu are the 1,2,4,5,6 and 7 defendants.
The applicants are challenging the validity of the Edo State electoral law which allows for the holding of elections within 15 days from the date of the publication of notice for the conduct of election.
In the grounds of their application, they contend that the state’s law contradicts the Electoral Act 2022 which provides for at least 150 days before election.
The plaintiffs application partly reads: ” The Edo State Independent Commission is bound to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the conduct of Local Government Council Elections in Edo state , particularly Sections 28, 29, 32(1), 94(1), 103 (1) and (3) , 104, 150 (1) , (2) and (3) of the said Act.”
Reading his verdict on Tuesday, Justice Taiwo held that the defendants must be restrained in the interim pending the determination of the case.
The judge adjourned to April 14 for hearing on applications filed by the plantiffs.
But the judge added that since the court will go on Easter vacation from April 8, it is only a fiat by the Chief Judge that will enable him preside over the case on April 14.