By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday, declined to make an order of status quo ante that would have stopped the local government elections in Lagos State, scheduled for Saturday.
Trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, rather adjourned till November 29, 2021, proceedings in the suit by an All Progressives Congress, APC, chairmanship aspirant, Raheem Alani.
The judge upheld the argument of counsel to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.
The first and second defendants/respondents in the suit are Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and LASIEC.
Alani is seeking, among others, to restrain INEC from making the register for Lagos’ 20 Local Government Areas available, arguing that LASIEC ought to conduct the election by the “constitutionally-recognised” LGAs in Lagos, and not based on the 57 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, created by the state.
But Pinheiro has filed a preliminary objection on behalf of LASIEC praying the court to strike out and or dismiss the suit in its entirety.
At the resumption of proceedings, yesterday, some political parties including the African Action, Congress, AAC, African Peoples Movement, APM, and BOOT informed the court of their intention to join as plaintiffs.
Responding, Pinheiro prayed the court to adjourn proceedings till after the annual vacation of the court because, among others, the intending parties who said they had filed a notice to join the suit, had yet to serve him and until that was done, the case could not go on.
When Alani’s counsel, Mr. Taiwo Alabi suggested that given the development, it was reasonable that the court should issue an order of status quo ante bellum that is parties should stay action until the determination of the case pending in court, Pinheiro opposed him.
He argued that Alabi’s offer was a trap “which the court must not fall for” adding that the Appeal Court had stated on different occasions that the court should not entertain that type of approach.
Granting his application, Justice Aneke adjourned till November 29, 2021, for the hearing of all applications and advised the plaintiff to approach the vacation judge during vacation.