Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, temporarily restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting by-elections to fill 14 vacant seats in the Edo State House of Assembly.
The State House of Assembly had last year declared the seats vacant after the lawmakers who were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to present themselves for inauguration by the principal officers of the house.
The affected lawmakers are said to be loyal to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Justice Mohammed gave the order while ruling on the application filed by the 14 affected lawmakers.
The order will remain binding till January 28, the date set for the hearing of any opposition to the restraining order as requested by the 14 lawmakers.
The 14 lawmakers who instituted the suit are – Victor Edoror, Washington Osifo, Vincent Uwadiae, Kingsley Ugabi, Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Sunday Aghedo, Chris Okaeben, Crosby Eribo, Aliyu Oshiomhole, Oshomah Ahmed, Ganiyu Audu, Ugiagbe Dumez, Uyi Ekhosuehi and Eric Okaka.
The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, and INEC are listed as the first and second respondents in the suit.
The lawmakers had on December 10, 2019 filed the ex parte application, asking the court to restrain INEC and Okiye from going ahead with the bye-election.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Ikhide Ehighelua, reminded the court of his clients’ pending application and the court’s orders at the December 12, 2019 proceedings.
While the Edo State Speaker was not represented by any lawyer, the INEC counsel, Mr. Femi Adeyemi, acknowledged that the commission was served with all the processes as ordered by the court except the ex-parte motion.
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