Court stops INEC from using MC Oluomo to distribute election materials
Less than 24 hours to the general elections, Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, ordered a perpetual injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its privies or any persons acting under its directions from contracting, partnering or appointing Lagos State Parks Management Committee, being control by Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya a.k.a MC Oluomo, or any of its members and/or drivers, from distributing the election materials and personnel in Lagos State.
The court made the order, while delivering judgment in a suit marked FHC/L/CS//2023, filed by Labour Party, its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-vivour and four others.
Other applicants in the suit were: African Democratic Congress and Boot Party and their governorship candidates, Mr. Funsho Doherty and Wale Oluwo respectively.
The applicants through their counsel, Mr. Abass Arisekola Ibrahim, in a motion on notice filed before the court, had asked for a declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State violates Section 26 and 27 of the Electoral Act 2022 and consequently unlawful, null and void.
“A declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee (established by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State) and any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute election materials and personnels in Lagos State will give room for election sabotage, manipulation, and rigging in favour of the APC and consequently unlawful and illegal.
“A declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State is unlawful, wrongful, unjust and/or unreasonable and should be immediately stopped.”
The party, however, prayed the court to set aside any partnership, undertaking, contract of any form or nature executed by MC Oluomo, the Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members or drivers with INEC to distribute election materials and personnels in Lagos State.
INEC did not file any response to the suit, neither was it represented by any lawyer, despite been served with all the processes in the suit as ordered by the court.
However, while delivering judgment in the suit, yesterday, the judge after perusing all the documents filed by the applicants and cited various decided cases, said he summarised and considered the submissions of the plaintiffs in respect of the originating summons.
Justice Aneke, however, considered the affidavit evidence of the plaintiffs’ counsel in support of the originating summons.
The judge held that, “Paragraphs 1-6 of the said affidavit merely introduced the parties in this suit.
“Paragraph 9 of the said affidavit, the deponent also did not give particulars of how he came to the knowledge of facts deposed therein thereby also contravening the provisions of Section 115(1), (3) and (4) of the Evidence Act, 2011.
“Exhibit 1 referred to in paragraph 9 of the said affidavit as the copy of a banner sponsored by MC Oluomo showing his support for APC, its Gubernatorial and Presidential Candidates is a computer generated evidence being a photograph. It complied with Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 and therefore admissible in evidence.
“In paragraph 10 of the said affidavit, Exhibit 2, referred to therein to prove the deposition in the said paragraph is a photocopy of a letter written to the defendant. It was stamped received by the defendant (INEC). Being part of the records of the defendant, it is a photocopy of a public document. Exhibit 2 not being the original letter and not being a certified true copy of a public document is not admissible in evidence.”
The court further held that, in paragraph 11 of the said affidavit the National Dailies on which the facts averred therein were based were not tendered as exhibits before this court.
“ It is trite that in affidavits, facts are proved by documents. Since the documents relied upon were not tendered, the facts deposed to in this paragraph cannot be relied upon by this court.
“In paragraph 12 of the said affidavit, the deponent relied upon Exhibits 3 and 4 to prove the facts deposed therein. Both Exhibits 3 and 4 complied with Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 but being public documents they were not certified in accordance with Sections 104 and 105 of the Evidence, Act, 2011.
Therefore, like Exhibit 2, they are not admissible to prove the contents of the said paragraph, that is, paragraph 12 of the supporting affidavit.
“The decision of this court in paragraph 12 also applies to paragraphs 13, 14, 16 and 23 of the said affidavit together with exhibits 5, 6, 7 and 8 respectively referred therein. Paragraph 15 of the said affidavit is premised with the deponent’s believe without stating his reasons for his belief and this court cannot act on beliefs but on facts or supportive facts.
“It is trite law that apart from admissions, affidavit evidence can be proved by documentary evidence.
This exhibit and what it contains is therefore only sufficient to answer the three (3) questions framed by the plaintiffs partly in the affirmative to the effect that MC Oluomo is the State Chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management, and a member of APC and campaigns for Tinubu/Shettima 2023 and also Babajide Sanwo-Olu for second term.
“In the result, reliefs 1-4 are hereby refused while relief 5 is accordingly granted. For avoidance of doubt the said relief 5 is hereby set out as, an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC and/or their privies or any persons acting under their directions from contracting, partnering or appointing Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State.”