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Court restraint conducts of Lagos council polls without inclusion of Youth Party

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The Youth Party has won a resounding victory today in our bid to ensure participation in the forthcoming Lagos Council Election fixed for 24th July 2021 and our perennial battle to ensure that INEC and LASIEC respect the rule of law, particularly obedience to judicial decisions.

The Federal High Court, Lagos, in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/625, before His Lordship, Honourable Justice Akintayo Aluko, granted the order of injunction in a case filed by the Youth Party and argued eloquently by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, S.A.N., wherein he narrated the “travails of the Youth.”

The Court ruled and granted our prayers that:
‘INEC and LASIEC are restrained whether by themselves, their agents, privies, employees, officers, or anyone whosoever acting for them and on their behalf from conducting the forthcoming Lagos State Local Government elections scheduled for 24th July 2021 or any other elections whatsoever to the exclusion of the Applicant pending the determination of the Interlocutory Application, which has now been adjourned to Monday 19th July 2020.’

In essence, any election conducted with the exclusion of the Youth Party would be illegal, null, and void: an exercise in futility.

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The Court’s decision is in line with the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered by Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo that declared the purported de-registration of the Party illegal, null, and void. Also, the Court of Appeal, Abuja, affirmed the decision of the lower Court and “found the action of INEC very reprehensive.”

The judgment at the lower Court is consequent to INEC’s persistent disregard for the rule of law and judicial decisions in failing to register the Party within the time stipulated in the law and preventing it from participating in elections illegally. The Electoral umpire failed to register the Party after it got a judgment against it in FHC/ABJ/CS/221/2017 between Chukwudi Adiukwu & Ors V. INEC delivered on 18th October 2017 until 14th August 2018, less than five days to the commencement of Party primaries in 2018. INEC further resorted to illegal self-help by illegally de-registering Youth Party while both of them were before the Federal High Court over the issue. INEC has taken the position of an immoral and biased electoral umpire.

Furthermore, INEC is currently refusing to list the Party on its website as a registered Party or allow it to participate in any election even in the face of an Appeal Court judgment, which had not been set aside or stayed.
Honourable Justice I.E. Ekwo in his judgment had held that:

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“The Defendant is not above the law. No person or parties to an action is allowed to resort to self-help hen an action is pending in Court”. The claim that the Defendant has the power pursuant to S. 225A (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to de-register a political party does not justify the action of the Defendant while this action is pending. The Defendant must understand that the constitution is not an author of confusion. I condemn the action of the Defendant as a wrong exercise of might. Therefore, the de-registration of the Plaintiff during the pendency of this action by the Defendant is illegal, null and void, and liable to be set aside. Consequently, I hereby make an order setting aside the de-registration of the Plaintiff.”

The ruling of the Federal High Court has put paid to the shameless resort to self-help, orchestrated by the collaborative efforts of INEC and LASIEC to stop the Youth Party’s commitment to the expansion of the democratic space, political ascendancy, and its bid to prevent the rot in the political space.

Once again, we thank the Nigerian Judiciary for giving us hope that the rule of law is still sacrosanct and the judiciary is the hope of our democracy.

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