TENURE SUIT: INEC FINALLY HEADS FOR COURT OF APPEAL
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially lodged an appeal before the Court of Appeal against the judgment of a Federal High Court stopping it from conducting governorship elections in Kogi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa States in April 201.
In the appeal, INEC is asking the court to set aside the judgment and allow it to conduct elections in the affected states.
Although there was no official confirmation from the registry of the appellate court, a senior member of the legal team representing INEC confirmed that his client has officially filed the appeal.
In the said judgment under appeal, the trial court held that the tenure of the five sitting governors shall not expire until sometime next year.
Justice Adamu Bello held that the tenure of the governors legally started in 2008 when they took fresh oath of office and allegiance following the nullification of their April 14, 2007 elections by the courts.
The court held that since 2007 elections were nullified and set aside by competent courts, the oath of office and allegiance subscribed to by the five governors have all been nullified and set aside along with the elections. According to Justice Bello, the 2007 elections being used by INEC to determine the tenure of the governors have not existed in the eyes of the law having been legally declared null and void by competent courts of law as nothing can stand on nothing.
He however said although, section 180 of the 1999 constitution was amended in 2010 by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President, the amendment has no effect on the five governors since their re-run elections were conducted in 2008.
Justice Bello said that 'there was nowhere in the world where a constitution takes retroactive effect as erroneously held by the INEC adding that the said amendment cannot be used to determine the tenure of the governors who took oath of office in 2008.' Consequently, the court quashed the preparations by INEC and PDP to conduct elections in the affected states and ordered that elections would only take place in the states next year.