By Robert Egbe
A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed July 19 to rule on whether to hear an application by 11 political parties seeking to stop the July 24 local government election in Lagos.
Justice Akintayo Aluko fixed the date following the Lagos State Government’s opposition to their prayer.
The parties grouse is that the Lagos State Independent Election Commission (LASIEC) allegedly failed to register them for the election.
The plaintiffs are Alliance of Social Democrats; All Grand Alliance Party; Change Advocacy Party; Mega Party of Nigeria; Progressive People’s Alliance; Save Nigeria Congress; We The People’s of Nigeria; Young Democratic Party; Advanced Congress of Democrats and Mass Movement of Nigeria.
Joined as first to third defendants/respondents in the suit are LASIEC; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The parties in their motion ex parte filed through their counsel, Adesanmi Afolabi, are seeking an interim injunction restraining LASIEC from proceeding with the poll, pending the hearing and determination of their June 18 motion on notice.
Justice had fixed yesterday to hear the plaintiffs’ motion on notice, but at the resumption of proceedings, Onigbanjo (SAN) opposed the parties’ prayers.
He informed the court that the state had filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit and had also filed a counter-affidavit to the plaintiffs’ originating summons.
Responding, Afolabi told the judge that he had filed a response to the counter-affidavit, but that he had not been able to serve INEC, whom he accused of evading service.
Given the circumstances, he prayed the court to grant his ex-parte motion restraining LASIEC from taking any step pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Again, Onigbanjo emphasised his opposition to the hearing of the ex parte motion, saying that such procedure was unknown to law, because, among others, it contradicted the rule of sequence.
“We are talking about service of the third defendant which is still in issue, coupled with our preliminary objection and the plaintiff is talking about ex parte order at this stage. I urge my lord not to fall into this type of temptation,” the AG said.
Justice Aluko reserved ruling till Monday, July 19.