Lagos Council Poll: Court Threatens To Stop INEC From Releasing Voters’ Register To LASIEC
Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today, Wednesday threatened to deny the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) access to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Register for Lagos voters ahead of the July 24 chairmanship and council polls.
Justice Chukwujekwu 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 (LGA) available LASIEC.
The judge made the ruling following an ex parte motion filed by Alani and argued by his counsel, Tope Alabi, seeking for four reliefs.
Alani, a resident of and registered voter in Agege Local Government Aarea of Lagos State, is the Plaintiff/Applicant while INEC and LASIEC are the 1st and 2nd defendants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/677/2021.
The plaintiff argued in his affidavit of urgency that LASIEC ought to conduct the election in accordance with the “constitutionally-recognised” LGAs 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 2nd defendant intends to conduct elections are a product of the unconstitutional balkanisation of the 20 constitutionally-recognised Local Government Areas in Lagos State,” he said.
He argued that the balkanisation meant he and many others had been “unconstitutionally excluded from Agege LGA and put within the unconstitutionally created Orile-Agege LCDA,” and 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 prayed the court for an order restraining INEC from “giving, submitting and/or making” the register of voters in the local government 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 also prayed for an order restraining INEC from giving LASIEC any logistical support for the elections based on the 57 LGAs and LCDAs.
The plaintiff also sought for an order stopping LASIEC from preparing for the polls based on the 57 LCDAs.
In a bench 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 hereby adjourned till Wednesday, July 4, 2021. All parties must be served with all the processes .”