By Onozure Dania, LAGOS
JUSTICE Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Wednesday, threatened to deny the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, access to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, voters’ register for the chairmanship and council polls scheduled for July 24.
Justice Aneke gave LASIEC seven days to show cause why it should not grant a prayer by an All Progressives Congress, APC, chairmanship aspirant, Raheem Rasaki Alani, seeking to restrain INEC from making the register for Lagos’ 20 local government areas available.
The judge gave the ruling following Alani’s ex parte motion dated June 24, 2021 and argued through his counsel Tope Alabi, asking for four reliefs.
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Alani, a resident of and registered voter in Agege Local Government, is the plaintiff/applicant while INEC and LASIEC are the first and second defendants in the suit, respectively.
He argued in his affidavit of urgency that LASIEC ought to conduct the election in accordance with the “constitutionally-recognised” local governments in Lagos, and not based on the 57 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, created by the state, that it intends to use.
“I know that the 57 LCDAs wherein the second defendant intends to conduct elections are a product of the unconstitutional balkanisation of the 20 constitutionally-recognised LGAs in Lagos State,” he said.
He also argued that the balkanisation meant he and many others had been “unconstitutionally excluded from Agege council and put within the unconstitutionally created Orile-Agege LCDA.”
He added that he would be denied the right to vote or be voted for, as well as be “robbed of voting to elect the chairman of Agege LGA or to be elected its chairman.”
Alani sought the court for an order restraining INEC from “giving, submitting and/or making” the register available to LASIEC for its use in the chairmanship and councillorship elections based on the 57 LGAs and LCDAs “or any other number of LGAs in excess of the 20 LGAs pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.”
He further called for an order restraining INEC from giving LASIEC any logistical support for the elections based on the 57 LGAs and LCDAs.
Alani asked for an order stopping LASIEC from preparing for the polls based on the 57 LCDAs.
While delivering a ruling, Justice Aneke held: “Being an election matter and the process is ongoing, I shall give the defendant/respondent seven days within which the defendant shall show cause why the order should not be made against them.”
This case is adjourned till Wednesday, July 14, 2021. All parties to be served.”