The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is suspending “all further proceedings and actions” on the Imo North senatorial election, which it earlier declared inconclusive in March.
According to Mallam Mohammed Haruna, National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC made the decision in compliance with an ex-parte order mandating it to do so.
“Further to our statement of 4th April 2019 on the setting up of a committee by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate the veracity or otherwise of allegations of misconduct in the Imo North Senatorial Election, the Commission wishes to inform the public that the Committee has completed its assignment,” the commission said in a statement.
“However, the Commission has been served with an ex-parte order halting further action on the matter.
“The order, issued by the Federal High Court Abuja on 9th April, specifically ordered the permission to stay ‘ALL FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ACTIONS by the Respondents (INEC) pertaining or relating or connected with the declaration of Imo North Senatorial District election results of 23 February and 9- March, 2019 pending the determination of the application for prohibition’.
“The case, which was instituted by Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, against INEC a day after it set up committee, has been adjourned to 30th April 2019 for hearing.”
In February, two days after the INEC office in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area in Imo North Senatorial District was set ablaze by persons suspected to be political thugs, INEC declared the senatorial election inconclusive, citing allegations of ballot box snatching, kidnapping of electoral officers and manipulation of the process.
A rerun was held on March 9, but INEC still hasn’t declared a winner.
Before the rerun, Ndubueze Patrick, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was leading Uwajumogu, his closest challenger who is also the incumbent senator and the APC candidate.