A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, granted an order of interim injunction restraining the Edo State Independence Electoral Commission (EDOSIEC) from going ahead with the planned local government elections slated for April 19, 2022, pending the determination of a suit they filed challenging the action of the State House of Assembly.
The order of the court followed an ex-parte application filed by Irene Sylvester, Ayoboh Francis, Edogun Toyin and Ogioba Kelvin, praying the court to restrain the state electoral body from conducting elections into Local Government Councils in Edo State.
Joined as respondents in the ex-parte motion are, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Clerk of the Edo State House of Assembly, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its national chairman, Prof Iyiorcha Ayu
In the motion ex-parte filed on March 31, the applicants, who are PDP members in Edo State want the court to restrain, “INEC, its agents, servants, officers, privies howsoever described from handing over the voters’ register covering all the local government councils in Edo State for the conduct of elections under the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-enactment Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) to the 3rd defendant (Edo State Independent Electoral Commission)”, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice they filed before the court.
Justice Taiwo also made an order restraining INEC and the EDOSIEC from using the Voters’ Register for conducting the Local Government Council Elections in Edo State proposed to hold on the 19th day of April 2022 or any other day pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
The judge also, “Restrained the defendants from giving effect to Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-Enactment) Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) which provides for the holding of election within 15 days from the date of publication of notice for the conduct of election pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the 6th and 7th defendants, their privies, servants, agents, officers from allowing any person being the product of the Edo State Local Government Council Election predicated upon the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law and the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission Establishment (Re-Enactment) Law 2017 (as amended in 2022) which provides for the holding of election within 15 days from the date of publication of notice for the conduct of election from participating in the primaries/congresses/convention of the 6th defendants pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
The judge, in his ruling, agreed with counsel to the applicants, Dr Joshua Musa (SAN) that the essence of the ex-parte motion was to protect the subject matter in the motion on notice and added that the applicants do not want to suffer irrevocable damages, for which no compensation will be enough to assuage them.
“I can safely conclude that the applicants will suffer irrevocable damages if the respondents are not restrained. The existence of urgency, not a self-imposed one is a necessary consideration in granting an interim injunction.
“I found merit in the application and I grant prayers two to five,” Justice Taiwo held and ordered that the respondents be served with all the court papers and adjourned till April 14, 2022, for hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.