The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Friday, descended heavily on the Independent National Electoral Commissioner, INEC, accusing it of being partisan.
The appellate court said it was embarrassing that the Commission could appear before it to act in favour of a party in an election dispute, by disowning documents that it not only issued but also duly certified.
It decried that the electoral body has continued to “dance naked in the market,” even though it was meant to assume a neutral stand in election litigations.
“The INEC as an institution should be reminded of its role in an election; to be an unbiased umpire between parties.
“It should stop behaving irresponsibly, having in mind that its duty to conduct election has a direct bearing on peace and well-being of the country.
“The role of INEC in election dispute should be limited to the tendering of all the documents used in an election and explaining what they were used for and how they were obtained.
“INEC should stop dancing naked in the market, pretending that no one is seeing its unclothedness and its dancing steps,” the court stated while delivering judgment in a Bauchi State House of Assembly election appeal.
The lead judgement of a three-member panel of the court was delivered by Justice K. I. Amadi.
The panel, in its unanimous decision, nullified the election of the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Suleiman, who was earlier declared the winner of Ningi Central Constituency in the state, by INEC.
The court held that evidence before it established that the election was inconclusive.
Aside from voiding the Certificate of Return that was issued to Suleiman who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the appellate court directed INEC to conduct a supplementary poll in 10 polling units in the state, within 90 days.
The court further awarded a cost of N500,000 against INEC.