By Umar Ardo, Ph.D
I just read a news item that a Yola High Court has issued an Order on INEC not to proceed with its 23 March scheduled rerun election in Adamawa State, but the commission is ignoring the order, stating that the court lacked jurisdiction over the federal establishment and would therefore go ahead with the rerun election.
In my opinion, if it is actually true a court indeed issued an order and INEC refused to comply, then INEC is clearly at fault. It is not only wrong but is a clear path to anarchy. Because if a court of competent jurisdiction gives Orders, and it’s duly served, then we’re all duty bound to obey no matter how fallible that order may be. This is an irreducible element of due process of rule of law on all citizens, bodies and authorities in society. To come up with any self-interpretation of law as excuse of disobedience is simply self-serving, to say the least. The court obviously knows the provisions of the law and the extent of its jurisdictions when it gave the order. Under the Nigerian constitution, it is not for INEC nor for anyone else’s for that matter, but for the court’s, to interpret the law.
Consequently, if indeed a court has issued an order to INEC and it is duly served, I strongly advise that INEC complies with the order if it does not want to throw our society into anarchy. INEC not complying will only further complicate issues and project the commission as pursuing a predetermined agenda. If INEÇ has an issue with such an order it should appeal against it within the due process of law, but to ignore it blatantly just because it doesn’t agree with it is the highest act of impunity. If we all ignore and act against court orders that we don’t agree with, then we’ll have no society to cohabit in. I am sure neither the court nor the society would congratulate INEC for disobeying court order. That’s my candid opinion and advise to the commission.
But if INEC insist on disobeying this order then I advise all concerned political parties and the Adamawa electorate, as law abiding bodies and citizens, to boycott the exercise, not to indulge in INEC’s act of impunity and allow the commission to trample the order all by itself.