Court fails to stop next Saturday’s Ogun LG poll

A High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State has dismissed a suit filed by the Labour Party in the state, seeking to stop the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas elections scheduled for next Saturday.

The party, in the suit number AB/215/2016, had approached the court seeking an injunction to restrain the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) from conducting the election.

The party, in an originating summons, dated August 12, asked the court to extend the date of the election so as to allow it collect and submit forms CF001 and CF002.

Counsel to the claimants, Mr Monday Mawah, told the court that OGSIEC and the chairman, Mrs Risikat Ogunfemi, who were 3rd and 4th defendants in the suit, violated the rights of LP by excluding them from the process of the election.

He argued that party had been sidelined in the electoral process, citing Ibrahim Nuru vs INEC, as well as insisting that OGSEIC should be bound by the regulations as contained in the 2006 Election Guidelines Procedure and the time table released by it.

Mawah submitted that his clients were entitled to remedy which, in this instance, was for the court to order an extension of time for the conduct of the election.

But, counsel to OGSIEC and Ogunfemi, Wahab Ismail, objected to all the reliefs sought  in the summons, informing the court that he had filed a notice of preliminary objection and a counter affidavit before the court.

Ismail told the court that there was no disclosure of any reasonable cause of action against OGSIEC and Ogunfemi, and that there was nothing in the affidavit to link any of the defendants to the allegations in the suit.

He submitted that a court of law had no power to extend the time of an election, as requested by the claimants, adding that the court could only direct the extension of time.

He said: “You have the power to direct but they have not sought the power of the court to do that. A court of law doesn’t extend the time of an election; it can only direct and there is a clear distinction between the two.”

The presiding judge, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje, in his judgment, dismissed all the reliefs contained in the amended originating summons dated September 5, 2016.

Mabekoje, said that the claimants failed to establish any reasonable cause of action against the defendants and that the court should not be allowed to guess on the link between the suit and the defendants.

He dismissed the application and awarded N10, 000 cost in favour of the defendants.