File photo of ballot boxes.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has given the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) seven days to demonstrate why it should not be restrained from accessing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) register for Lagos voters ahead of the July 24 chairmanship and council polls.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made the ruling on Wednesday following an exparte application by chairmanship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Raheem Rasaki Alani, seeking to restrain INEC from making available the register for 20 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Lagos.
In the application dated June 24, Alani, a resident and registered voter in Agege LGA, through his counsel, Tope Alabi 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 second defendant (LASIEC) intends to conduct elections are a product of the unconstitutional balkanisation of the 20 constitutionally-recognised LGAs in Lagos State,” he said.
He further 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, therefore, asked the court to make 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 also asked for an order restraining INEC from giving LASIEC any logistical support for the elections based on the 57 LGAs and LCDAs.
Lastly, he sought 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 to 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.”