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Court bars Osun REC from conducting April polls

…orders INEC to replace him

BY GBENGA OLARINOYE

OSOGBO -A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, has restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from using Amb Rufus Oluwatoyin Akeju as the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the coming elections for Osun State and directed INEC to immediately appoint another REC for the state.

The Osun State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had dragged INEC and Akeju before the court on allegations of bias against Akeju and describing him as a sympathizer of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Akeju hails from Lagos State and is believed to have been nominated for the post by the Lagos State government.

Justice Babs Kuewumi who ruled on the originating summons filed by the PDP to restrain the REC from conducting the April elections granted all the prayers of the PDP and adjourned the matter till 6th of April, 2011.

However, when the case came up yesterday, PDP’s counsel, Kehinde Adesiyan informed the court that INEC neither filed a defence nor made an appearance in court  and that it was a deliberate attempt to frustrate the court.

He consequently urged the court to grant the prayers of his client and restrain the defendants from using Akeju as the REC to conduct the April elections .

The PDP while citing Section 14 (3) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 constitution sought for a declaration that Akeju cannot impartially conduct or supervise the conduct of a credible election in Osun State in April 2011.

Equally with the  originating summons deposed to by the State PDP counsel, Adesiyan,  the party explained that based on the allegation of bias levelled against Akeju, the court should order INEC to transfer him from Osun State to any other state in Nigeria to conduct or supervise the conduct of the April 2011 election and appoint a new Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State.

The party also asked for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant (Akeju) from conducting or supervising in any manner whatsoever the conduct of elections into various political positions in April 2011 in Osun State.

The State PDP further urged the court to grant, “an order of injunction directing the 1st defendant (INEC) to appoint forthwith or transfer a new Resident Electoral Commissioner to conduct or supervise the conduct of April 2011 elections in Osun state”.


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