LAGOS – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed Feb. 26 to hear a suit filed by a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos over name substitution.
The applicant, Mr Wasiu Sanni, a former Secretary of the APC, Lagos, had filed the suit seeking an order reinstating him as the party’s candidate for the election into Lagos Island Constituency 1 of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Joined as respondents in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and one Mr Hakeem Masha.
When the case came up on Thursday, counsel to the third respondent (Masha), Mr Bonajo Badejo (SAN) informed the court of an application challenging the service of the processes in the suit on his client.
He, therefore, requested for more time to respond to a counter-affidavit filed in response to the application by the applicant.
In his response, counsel to the applicant, Mr Wahab Shittu, noted that in spite of the fact that the case was adjourned for some time, the third respondent did not serve his client until the evening of Feb. 18.
Shittu said: “My Lord, as a mark of diligence, we filed our counter-affidavit this morning to the said application which was served on us at about 5.00 p.m. yesterday.
“We are indeed ready to come back tomorrow for the matter to be heard.”
Justice Ibrahim Buba, however, said it would be in the interest of justice to give the respondent time to respond.
He assured all the parties that the case would be heard speedily.
The judge adjourned the case to Feb. 26 for definite hearing.
The applicant wants the court to determine whether upon a proper interpretation of Sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 of the Electoral Act 2010 if it is lawful to substitute his name with that of Masha, having won the primaries.
He is also seeking a declaration that Masha, having lost the primaries with respect to Lagos Island Constituency 1 to him, is not entitled to be nominated as candidate of the party in the forthcoming House of Assembly election.
In addition, he is seeking a declaration that the substitution of his name with Masha is unlawful, as he had been declared winner in the primaries organised by the party.
However, APC in a preliminary objection filed by its counsel, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) is praying the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
He stressed that the suit did not follow due process of law and described it as frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of court process. (NAN)