By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court in LagosÂ yesterday restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting re_run elections into the Osun State East Senatorial District and the Osogbo Local Government seat of the State National Assembly slated for December 12, 2009.
Trial judgeÂ Justice Mohammed Liman, granted the order, following an ex-parte application Action Congress Party (AC). The party had sought for an order of mandamus to compel INECÂ to produce the currently voterâ€™s register.
The court also ordered that apart from doing anything that is lawfully preparatory to the by_election, the respondent is to stay all actions pending the hearing of the motion on notice, which must be heard and determined before December 20, 2009.
The courtÂ also granted AC leave to apply for an order of mandamus in terms of the reliefs contained in the statement of reliefs and grounds of the application. Meanwhile further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till December 15, 2009Â for the hearing of the substantive suit.
In an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by the state Scribe of the party, Prince Adegboyega Famodun, AC is seekingÂ a declaration that the refusal of INEC to issue the applicant with the revised and updated voters register for the Osun East Senatorial election in preparation of the election was illegal.
The party is also praying the court to declare that the deliberate refusal, failure or neglect of the respondent to prepare, maintain and update on a continuous basis, the register of voters for the purpose of organising and conducting the Osun East election as ordered by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan on October 10, 2009 and the State House of Assembly re-run election ordered by the appellate court on November 2, 2009,Â is illegal and unconstitutional because such failure to update the voterâ€™s register being in conflict with the Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F of the Constitution and Section 10 of the Electoral Act, 2006.
AC is contending that in the suit that INEC had failed to revise and update the voterâ€™s register meant for the conduct of the said election, soÂ as to enable persons, who have just attained the age of 18 years since 2007 when the last register was prepared, to be registered in accordance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2006.
According to the party, INEC had also failed to remove the names of persons who have died since 2007, whose names are still retained on the register used for the conduct of the April 21, 2007 NASS Election and that the electoral body hadÂ failed to remove the name of persons, who have relocated outside or include the name of persons who have just relocated to and now resident in Osun state.