By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
A judicial move to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to redeploy the Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commission, REC, Mr. Mike Igini away from the state has been rejected by an Abuja High Court.
The ex parte injunction was sought by Mr. Stanley Okpara and had INEC and Igini as first and second respondents respectively.
The rejection of the move was upon recent vociferous calls by chieftains of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC for the redeployment of Mr. Igini who they accused of not being straight in his duties. The accusations were, however, poohpoohed by other independent stakeholders who praised Igini’s commitment to justice.
Mr. Okpara’s political affiliation was not made known in court papers obtained by Vanguard.
Justice O.A. Musa in rejecting the ex parte determined on February 28 ruled thus:
“After listening to the applicant counsel move in terms and read through the affidavit in support of the interim relief sought herin, I am of the view that the reliefs are one which a court will grant at the end of a trial and not ex-parte.
“Again when I considered the relief in the originating summon, it seeks to declare the 2nd defendant unfit to hold the position of Resident Electoral Commissioner in Nigeria and consequently remove him from the said office.
“This exparte in my view, is an attempt to get judgment through the back door. When RECs are posted to states they plan the election in those stats and when they are removed by court arbitrarily it may scuttle elections in those places.
“It appears from the before me that the 2nd defendant is the REC in Akwa Ibom State, if I grant this application, it may spell doom to INEC’s plan for free and credible election.
“For the above reason, its only fair that he remains in his position till I determine the originating summons.”
Upon this the judge turned the request for an interim order for Igini to be removed and ordered that the status quo be maintained pending further hearing on March 21