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Court Bars INEC from using MC Oluomo’s Committee for logistics

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from engaging the services of Chairman of the…

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from engaging the services of Chairman of the Lagos Parks and Garages, Musliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, to distribute election materials in Lagos.

Aneke made the order following a suit instituted by the Labour Party against INEC, citing possible compromise if Oluomo’s organisation is made to distribute election materials.

Applicants in the suit were Labour Party, its Lagos State governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-vivour, African Democratic Congress, its Lagos State governorship candidate, Funsho Doherty, and Boot Party and its governorship candidate Wale Oluwo.

Only INEC was listed as defendant in the suit.

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In urging the court for the interim order, applicants counsel, Abass Arisekola Ibrahim, who moved the application with an affidavit of urgency, is brought pursuant to section 13(3) of the federal high court act (CAP Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria 2004; Order 26 Rules 8 and 9, Order 28 Rule 1(2) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009, and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

He also told the court the grounds for orders sought are that his client’s who are plaintiffs/applicants will be severely threatened to free and fair election in Lagos.

The counsel also stated that damages would not be an adequate remedy and that the balance of convenience is in favour of his clients.

Adding that “It is in interest of justice to restrain the INEC from taking any step or further steps that may foist a fait acompli on the honour respect of the substantive suit”.

After listening to the counsel’s submission, the judge held: “I have listened to the submission of counsel and also perused the motion with affidavit of urgency and grounds for the application. I found merit in the application. The order of interlocutory injunction is hereby granted.”

Upon granting the interim order, applicants’ counsel pleaded with the court for the abridgement of time to hear the substantive suit, because of the time of the elections.

Justice Aneke also granted the application for abridgement of time and adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit to February 22, while he ordered that all the processes in the suit be served on the INEC.

The judge also ordered that hearing notice be issued and served on the INEC.

Earlier, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had said INEC would not accede to the demand to remove Agbaje.

He dismissed the allegations against the REC, describing it as deliberate misinformation and distortion of facts, not needed with days to this year’s general elections.

Oyekanmi, who urged those demanding Agbaje’s redeployment to perish the thought, also urged the two political parties calling for Agbaje’s redeployment to respect the boundaries of the relationship between the commission and all political parties.

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