Law News
Court clears Ambode for Lagos gov race

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday dismissed a suit seeking to stop the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress in Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, from contesting the April 11 poll.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa declared that the plaintiffs had no locus standi to institute the action. The judge also held that the plaintiffs failed to establish any reasonable cause of action to sustain their prayers.

“None of the plaintiffs in the instant suit is an aspirant to be conferred with locus standi,” Yunusa held as he dismissed the suit.

The plaintiffs, Olorunfemi Oluwatosin and Dada Joseph, who are members of the APC, had approached the court seeking an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission from allowing APC to field any candidate for the coming Saturday’s governorship election in Lagos.

In the originating summons filed through their lawyer, Samuel Adeniyi, the plaintiffs were challenging their alleged disenfranchisement in the party primary that produced Ambode in December last year.

They claimed that the primary was fraught with and predicated on irregularities.

They alleged that the party’s ward congresses, which were supposed to be conducted only in the 20 recognised local government areas of Lagos State, were also extended to the 37 Local Council Development Areas of the state.

They also alleged that secret ballot rather than open ballot system was used during the congresses, arguing that same had rendered the process illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The defendants in the suit were APC, the INEC and Ambode.

Also joined as defendants were the other aspirants who vied for the party’s governorship ticket with Ambode: Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Dr. Leke Pitan, Tayo Ayinde, Olasupo Shasore, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Mrs. Tokunbo Agbesanwa, Dr. Tola Kasali, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Lanre Ope, Tokunbo Wahab, Adekunle Disu and Abayomi Sutton.

But APC in its preliminary objection, contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, being an intra-party affair. Besides, the party claimed that since the plaintiffs were neither delegates nor aspirants, they had no legal basis to complain.

It added, “The conduct of the ward congresses for Lagos State governorship primary nomination was done in the constitutionally recognised 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos State and not in the 37 Local Council Development Areas as alleged by the plaintiffs.

“The plaintiffs have not disclosed any injury that the conduct of the ward congresses in the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas have caused them either individually or collectively.”

APC described the plaintiffs’ case as academic, malafide, an abuse of court processes and one that was targeted at embarrassing the party.

It therefore asked the court to immediately dismiss it and award cost of damages against the plaintiffs for instituting the action.

Yunusa, while dismissing the suit, upheld APC’s submission that the subject matter of the case was an intra-party affair and that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had sufficient interest to warrant the reliefs sought. He, however, did not award any cost against the plaintiffs.

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