Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court, Lagos, presided over by Justice Rilwan Aikawa today dismissed the suit filed by a Lagos lawmaker, Honourable Famakinwa Adedayo Olufemi, representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1, at the Lagos State House of Assembly asking the court for an order of mandatory injunction directing INEC to accept and treat him as the lawful candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for his constituency in the forthcoming House of Assembly election in the State.
Justice Aikawa, in a jusgement delivered today, held that the suit is statute barred because it was filed outside the time limit allowed by the law.
Aikawa said the plaintiff was wrong in believing that the course of action arose when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to publish the plaintiff’s name but rather that of the defendant, Honourable Olumoh Sa’adu Lukman, as the authentic candidate of the APC, for the Constituency.
Famakinwa had in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/196c/19, joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Honourable Olumoh Sa’adu Lukman and All Progressive Congress (APC) as first to third respondents in the suit, is also asking the court to declare him as the lawfully recognised and acknowledge candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1, Lagos State, in the forthcoming general election
The Lagos lawmaker in an originating summon filed before the court by his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, is also urging the court to that by in view of the holding of the Supreme Court in the case PDP vs Sylva (2012), APC is lawfully entitled to request INEC to reflect his name as its lawful candidate in respect of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1, in the last House of Assembly election in Lagos State.
He also asked the court for a declaration in view of Section 31(I) of the Electoral Act 2010, allowing his party, APC, to sponsor candidate for any election and INEC is not entitled to refuse to uphold his candidacy for his constituency as requested by his party, APC, in a letter with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/018/007, dated November 30, 2018, and signed by the dou of Hon. Mai Mala Buni and Otunba Niyi Adebayo, APC’s National Secretary and Deputy National Chairman (South) respectively, and addressed to Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman.
The plaintiff also wants the court to declare that in view of the provisions of Sections 32 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010, APC is lawfully entitled to change or substitute the name of Olumoh S. Lukman (second respondent) with his name, considering Olumoh’s withdrawal in writing for the constituency, conveyed to his party by Olumoh’s letter dated November 30, 2017 and subsequently conveyed by APC to INEC.
Honourable Famakinwa asked the court for an order reinstating and restoring him as the lawfully recognized candidate of APC for the purpose of contesting the forthcoming House of Assembly election in Lagos State, also asked the court for an order of injunction restraining Olumoh (second defendant) from parading himself as the candidate for the constituency in the forthcoming House of Assembly Election.
Meanwhile, the second respondent, Olumoh Sa’adu Lukman, in a counter-affidavit filed before the court by his lawyers, Abdul Mohammed and Akeem Balogun, stated that the plaintiff’s claim that he won the primary conducted by his party (APC) is false because, he won the primaries and he was duly nominated by his party (APC) as its candidate for the election into the Lagos State House of Assembly.
He also averred that he did not write any letter dated November 30, 2018, with the subject “withdrawal of my candidacy for Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1 State Constituency, Lagos State House of Assembly”. And that he did not instruct any person to deliver the said letter to his party (APC).
He stated that the plaintiff will not suffer any injustice if the reliefs he sought for are not granted.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Wahab Shittu, informed the court that all parties have been served. He told the court that the second respondent (Olumoh), had responded while others are yet to respond. He added that though, parties are within mandatory time to file their responses.
Counsel to the second respondent, Mr. Abdul Mohammed, told the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit as well as a notice of preliminary objection to the suit.