30th June, 2011
The petition challenging the election of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Hakeem Abiodun Muniru representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Cosntituency 2, filed by the candidate of African Liberation Party, Dimeji Muse Awojobi, has been adjourned till next month.
Awojobi, in a petition filed before Lagos State Election Petitions Tribunal by his counsel, Chief Chinedu Moore, alleged that his name and the logo of his party were totally omitted from the ballot papers used for the National Assembly election held on 9 April, 2011 in the Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency and consequently, party members and his teeming supporters were unable to cast their votes for him.
The petitioner alleged further that he could not also vote for himself and consequently, party supporters, due to no fault of theirs, were totally and absolutely excluded from participating in the election they had fully prepared for as there was no way a candidate for that party may be voted for at the polls with the omission of the candidate’s name and logo of his political party on the ballot paper.
In addition, when the petitioner checked the list of candidates for the election from the website of Independent Electoral Commission on 23 March, 2011 and found that the names of the petitioner were wrongly spelt and listed against Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 1, he promptly notified the commission of the error by a letter dated 25 March, 2011, demanding that same be corrected.
However, when the corrected list of candidates for the election was again published on its website on 2 April, 2011 and it was noticed that the electoral body only corrected the wrongly spelt name of the party without correcting his constituency for the election, INEC was promptly notified and demanded a correction.
On the election day, however, it was observed that the name and logo of African Liberation Party was not contained on the ballot papers for use at the constituency election and protests and representations were made to the various presiding officers at the polling centres as well as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, who, nonetheless, allowed the election to go on.
The petitioner is therefore challenging the said election for Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 2 held on 9 April, 2011 on the ground that Dimeji Muse Awojobi, candidate of African Liberation Party, was validly nominated by his party but was unlawfully excluded together with his party from the election and that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The petitioner then posited that Hakeem Abiodun Muniru was not duly elected as the member representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 2 in the National Assembly election held on 9 April, 2011.
The tribunal has adjourned till 7 July, 2011.