‘Elitist’ Ikoyi-Obalende residents protest against tribunal, ACN ‘chairman’

Protesters

The residents want an explanation for the adjournment of the election tribunal’s sitting.

Dozens of residents of Ikoyi-Obalende local council, Monday, thronged the premises of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja to protest the state’s Election Appeal Tribunal’s indefinite adjournment of its sitting.

The election appeal tribunal had, two weeks ago, announced it was suspending sitting until further notice.

The suspension came on the heels of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN’s, appeal of the declaration by the Lagos State Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal that the Peoples’ Democratic Party‘s Ibrahim Obanikoro was the actual winner of the Ikoyi-Obalende local council election, held last year.

After the ruling last month, the election petition tribunal directed the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, the state’s electoral body, to revoke the Certificate of Return it had earlier issued the ACN’s Adewale Adeniji.

The residents say Mr. Adeniji is still occupying the chairman’s office 13 months after he ‘stole’ the mandate.

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In their letter addressed to Ayoola Philips, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, the residents demanded the reason for the indefinite adjournment.

“We mean no harm or disrespect to write you this letter, neither do we have plans to frustrate the judiciary,” read the letter signed by 20 persons on behalf of the residents.

“As you know, Ikoyi Obalende is an elitist area where we all have respect for the rule of law and we expect to be treated fairly by all forms of government including the judiciary,” read the letter.

“All we ask is that we be given a reason why the process is being stalled and most importantly, we ask for immediate continuation of the matter in court; as it is unfair and unreasonable for a matter of this ambiguity to be dragged for such a long time.”

Addressing the protesters, Chief Registrar of Lagos State Judiciary, Gani Safari, said that the tribunal was adjourned due to petitions written against some members of the panel.

“When that (the petition) happened, the chief judge had to investigate the complaints made against the tribunal member concerned. The investigation is on now,” Mr. Safari, who represented the Chief Judge, said.

“When investigation into the complaint is completed, the chief judge will decide whether to return the panel as it’s constituted to continue its work or to change the panel,” Mr. Safari added.

The Chief Registrar declined to state the contents of the petition but promised the matter would be addressed before a fortnight.

“The petition was made against the judges (in the tribunal), it is the judges who will be given the petition to reply,” said Mr. Safari. “To be honest with you, I don’t know the contents of the petition. I only know there was a petition and it’s being handled by the chief judge.”

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