The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, to stay the execution of its order for the arrest of Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, pending determination of an appeal on the order now pending before the Court of Appeal.
Prof. Mahmood had approached the Court of Appeal on Thursday, seeking an order setting aside the bench warrant on the grounds of constitutional and judicial breaches.
In a motion for stay filed through its counsel, Asiwaju Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, Thursday, the com- mission asked for, “an order staying the execution, giving effect to, enforce or carry into being, the bench warrant or any order or orders however made by this honourable court, in so far as may affect or touch on Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the applicant at the Court of Appeal”.
It is also asking for, “an order restraining the respondents, their agents, assigns, privies or any person or authority whatsoever and howsoever constituted, from giving effect to, implementing, continuing to implement or enforce the order of this honourable court for the arrest of the Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the applicant at the Court of Appeal”.
Awomolo SAN told the court that the order for stay of execution had become necessary because “execution of the bench warrant will jeopardise and render nugatory the appeal”.
According to him, “the grounds of appeal raise is- sues of constitutional right of the applicants (INEC and Prof. Yakubu) and other grounds of law, which are weighty and may be resolved in favour of the applicants”.
In the sworn affidavit supporting the motion for stay, Mathew Moses stated that, “if the respondents are not restrained from executing the order of this court, it would paralyze the applicants (INEC and Prof. Yakubu) from exercising his constitutional duties at this period as they are preparing for political parties primaries and the conduct of the general elections”.
He also made a deposition to the effect that INEC is a responsible institution that would always respect the rule of law, adding, that having appealed the order; the court ought to stay execution pending the outcome of the action at the court of appeal.
Recall that Justice Pam Doth of a Federal High Court in Abuja had on August 1, 2019, issued a bench warrant ordering the arrest of the INEC chairman, Prof. Yakubu for alleged contempt of court.