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Court declines to suspend July 24 Lagos local council poll

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The Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, declined to make an order of status quo ante that would have suspended Lagos State council elections scheduled for Saturday, July 24, 2021.

The judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, adjourned further proceedings till November 29.

He gave the ruling after upholding the argument of counsel to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN).

The suit was filed by 11 political parties.

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Joined as first to third defendants/respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/569/21 are LASIEC; Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The plaintiffs’ grouse is that LASIEC allegedly failed to register them for the election.

At the resumption of proceedings, yesterday, other political parties, including the African Action Congress (AAC), African Peoples Movement (APM) and BOOT, informed the court of their intention to join as plaintiffs.

Responding, Pinheiro prayed the court to adjourn proceedings till after the yearly vacation of the court, because, among others, the intending parties, who said they had filed a notice to join the suit, were yet to serve him and until that was done, the case could not go on.

He further said that the failure of any party to comply with the law guiding the issue of service would rob the court of jurisdiction to entertain the case, because “service is very fundamental before a case can be properly adjudicated on.”

When the plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr. Taiwo Alabi, suggested that given the development, it was reasonable that the court should issue an order of status quo ante bellum, that is, for parties to stay action until the determination of the case, Pinheiro opposed him.

He submitted that Alabi’s offer was a trap “which the court must not fall for,” adding that the Appeal Court had stated on different occasions that the court should not entertain that type of approach.

Granting his application, Justice Aneke adjourned till November 29 for the hearing of all applications.

He advised the plaintiffs to approach the judge during vacation.

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