Court Finally Stops INEC From Engaging Oluomo-led Union For 2023 General Election

A Lagos Federal High Court, today, perpetually order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), it’s privies or any persons acting under its directions from contracting, partnering or appointing Lagos State Parks Management Committee, being control by Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya a.k.a MC Oluomo, or any of its members and/or drivers to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State.

Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke, who presided over the court, made the order while delivering judgment in a suit marked FHC/L/CS//2023, filed by Labour Party, it’s governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-vivour and four others.

Other applicants in the suit are: African Democratic Congress and Boot Party  and their governorship candidates, Mr. Funsho Doherty, and Wale Oluwo respectively.

The applicants through their lawyer, Abass Arisekola Ibrahim, in a motion on notice filed and argued before the court, had asked for the following reliefs: “a declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State violates Section 26 and 27 of the Electoral Act 2022 and consequently unlawful, null and void. 

“A declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee (established by Governor Babajide SanwoOlu, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State) and any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute election materials and personnels in Lagos State will give room for election sabotage, manipulation, and rigging in favour of the APC and consequently unlawful and illegal. 

“A declaration that the appointment, partnership, or contracting of Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State is unlawful, wrongful, unjust and/or unreasonable and should be immediately stopped. 

“An order setting aside any partnership, undertaking, contract and/or MOU of any form or nature executed by Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, the Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of ifs members and/or drivers with INEC to distribute election materials and personnels in Lagos State. 

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC and/or their privies or any persons acting under their directions from contracting, partnering of appointing Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members and/or drivers to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State.” 
The reliefs were listed as ‘reliefs one to five.

INEC did not file any response to the suit, neither was it represented by any lawyer, despite been served with all the processes in the suit as ordered by the court.

Delivering judgment in the suit today, after perusing all the documents filed by the applicants, and cited plethoras of legal authorites, Justice Aneke held that: “I have summarized and considered the submissions of the plaintiffs in respect of this Originating Summons. This court will now consider the affidavit evidence of ABASS IBRAHIM in support of the Originating Summons. 

“Paragraphs 1-6 of the said affidavit merely introduced the parties in this suit. In paragraphs 7 and 8 of the affidavit, the deponent deposed to facts which he premised as follows: “1am aware …and | know …”without giving particulars as to how he was aware of the facts or how he knew the facts and thereby contravening the provisions of Section 115(1), (3) and (4) of the Evidence Act, 2011.” 

“paragraph 9 of the said affidavit, the deponent also did not give particulars of how he came to the knowledge of facts deposed therein thereby also contravening the provisions of Section 115(1), (3) and (4) of the Evidence Act, 2011. 

“Exhibit 1 referred to in paragraph 9 of the said affidavit as the copy of a banner sponsored by MC Oluomo showing his support for APC, its Gubernatorial and Presidential Candidates is a computer generated evidence being a photograph. It complied with Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 and therefore admissible in evidence. 

“In paragraph 10 of the said affidavit, Exhibit 2, referred to therein to prove the deposition in the said paragraph is a photocopy of a letter written to the Defendant. tt was stamped received by the Defendant (INEC). Being part of the records of the Defendant, it is a photocopy of a public document. Exhibit 2 not being the original letter and not being a certified true copy of a public document is not admissible in evidence. 

“In paragraph 11 of the said affidavit the National Dailies on which the facts averred therein were based were not tendered as exhibits before this court. It is trite that in affidavits, facts are proved by documents. Since the documents relied upon were not tendered, the facts deposed to in this paragraph cannot be relied upon by this court. 

“In paragraph 12 of the said affidavit, the deponent relied upon Exhibits 3 and 4 to prove the facts deposed therein. Both Exhibits 3 and 4 complied with Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 but being public documents they were not certified in accordance with Sections 104 and 105 of the Evidence, Act, 2011. Therefore, like Exhibit 2, they are not admissible to prove the contents of the said paragraph, that is, paragraph 12 of the supporting affidavit. See the Supreme Court cases of KURBOR & ANOR v. DICKSON ORS (2012) LPELR-9817 (SC}; OMISORE & ANOR v. AREGBESOLA & ORS (2015) 15 NWLR (PT. 1482) 205 and DICKSON v. SYLVA & ORS (2016) LPELR-41257 (SC). The dec sion of this court in paragraph 12 also applies to paragraphs 13, 14, 16 and 23 of the sard affidavit together with exhibits 5, 6, 7 and 8 respectively referred therein. Paragraph 15 of the said affidavit is premised with the deponent’s believe without stating his reasons for his belief and this court cannot act on beliefs but on facts or supportive facts. 

“In paragraphs 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24 and 25, the deponent deposed to his beliefs and personal knowledge without giving the court particular facts which informed his beliefs and personal knowledge so that the court can make an informed decision. It is therefore obvious that apart paragraphs 1- 6 of the said Affidavit which are merely introductory and paragraph 9 thereof all the other paragraphs were rejected for failure to comply with the provisions of the law. 

“It is trite law that apart from admissions, affidavit evidence can be proved by documentary evidence. See the case of NWOSU v. IMO STATE SANITATION AUTHORITY (1990) 2 NSSC 108. Exhibit 1 which is the only exhibit admitted in evidence shows that Oluomo is the State Chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management and a member of the APC and is also campaigning for “TINUBU/SHETIMA 2023 and also SANWOOLU 4 2nd TERM”.

“This exhibit and what it contains is therefore only sufficient to answer the three (3) questions framed by the Plaintiffs partly in the affirmative to the effect that MC OLUOMO is the State Chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management, and a member of APC and campaigns for “TINUBU/SHETIMA 2023 and also SANWOOLU 4 2nd TERM”. 

“In the result, reliefs 1-4 are hereby refused while relief 5 is accordingly granted. 

“For avoidance of doubt the said relief 5 is hereby set out as follows: “AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining INEC and/or their privies or any persons acting under their directions from contracting, partnering or appointing Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo, Lagos State Parks Management Committee or any of its members and/or drivers by INEC to distribute 2023 election materials and personnels in Lagos State.”