A Federal High Court in Abuja has prolonged its temporary order preventing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from holding new elections to fill what has been termed as “vacant” positions in the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Presiding Judge, Donatus Okorowo extended the order upon an application presented by Steve Adehi, representing the lawmakers, and supported by Ken Njemanze, counsel for the Rivers House of Assembly.
This action stems from the defection of 27 members from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, which led Speaker Edison Ehie to declare their seats vacant, prompting the PDP to call for elections in the affected constituencies.
However, the concerned lawmakers swiftly sought legal intervention to halt their replacement. The defendants in the case include INEC, PDP, the Rivers Assembly, the state assembly’s clerk, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Following a ruling on December 15, Judge Okorowo barred all six defendants from meddling with the plaintiffs’ activities and scheduled the matter for a hearing on December 2
During the recent court session, Adehi requested an adjournment due to a change in legal representation for the assembly’s third defendant. Njemanze announced his takeover for the state assembly, while Adeyemi Ajibade, representing the PDP, opposed the adjournment and urged the court to revoke the interim order.
Nevertheless, Adehi argued that the circumstances leading to the initial order remained unchanged, citing the PDP’s continued push for the declaration of the plaintiffs’ seats as vacant and fresh election.
In his ruling, Judge Okorowo adjourned the matter to January 24 for various applications and extended the previous order, granting the application to sustain the ex parte order’s duration until the pending motion’s determination.