The All Progressives Congress (APC) has sued Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and the state’s Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), over its exclusion from the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
The opposition party argued that the governor, alongside the electoral umpire, was going ahead with the exercise despite the court injunctions that the status quo should be maintained.
Oyo State Caretaker Chairman of APC, Akin Oke, who confirmed the development through a statement in Ibadan, said that the opposition party, through its lawyers, had prepared the originating processes and forwarded same to the state’s Chief Judge.
He expressed hope that the case would be attended to timeously by accepting it for filing and assigning it to a judge for hearing.nOke said that the courts were imbued with extensive powers under the High Court Laws of Oyo State, Nigerian Constitution, and High Court Civil Procedure Rules of Oyo State.
“Gov. Makinde and OYSIEC are planning to go ahead with the conduct of the local government elections slated for this Saturday (May 22) without the APC and other registered political parties. This action of the governor and OYSIEC is a waste of the state’s resources. The action is aimed at making mockery of democracy and the rule of law,” he said.
Oke described APC’s exclusion from the elections by OYSIEC as deliberate and unconstitutional, adding that OYSIEC goofed by commencing the process while there was pending litigation.
He also noted that OYSIEC had in its guidelines imposed a nomination form fee of N250,000 and N100,000 to be paid by the chairmanship and councillorship aspirants, respectively.
“These fees are illegal because election processes cannot be monetised. The OYSIEC having realised this illegal imposition of fees have now decided to refund the candidates. But not after OYSIEC had closed every avenue for participation in the electoral processes,” he said.
The caretaker chairman said that the APC said was aware that some Magistrate Courts in Oyo State are sitting over criminal matters considered urgent, in spite of the ongoing JUSUN strike.
“If the Oyo State judiciary could permit criminal matters to be heard in a strike, we trust his lordship, the chief judge would mandate the necessary units and personnel to effect filing, as well as assigning timeously before election day,” Oke said.
It would be recalled that Makinde had on assumption of office in 2019 sacked the elected local government chairmen and councilors on the platform of APC, a year into their tenure.
The sacked chairmen and councillors had approached the court to challenge the dissolution, which the Supreme Court ruled in their favour on May 7, 2021
OYSIEC had before the judgment commenced electoral processes for the conduct of local government elections for May 22, in which APC did not participate on account of the pending judgment.