The Federal High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Thursday dismissed two cases instituted by the All Progressives Congress and others, seeking to stop the conduct of Saturday’s local government election in the state.
The court said it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, and described the case as an abuse of court process.
In her ruling, the judge, Folashade Olubanjo, said the federal high court did not have the jurisdiction to hear cases involving the conduct of local government election under the purview of state governments and its agencies.
She said it would amount to “judicial pettiness” to proceed with the suit when issues on the dissolution of the former councils were still pending before the Supreme Court.
Ms. Olubanjo also said proceeding with the interlocutory injunction on the case was a mere academic exercise as facts deduced from arguments and counter arguments showed that the suits were gross abuse of court process.
APC and the Social Democratic Party had earlier stated their withdrawal from the election, in the light of reasons that the election was already compromised.
The APC on Thursday restated its boycott of the local government election, accusing the chairman and other members of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission of being card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The director of Publicity of the party, Steve Otaloro, in a statement in Akure, said there was no authentic voters register for the election, arguing that the register available for use had not been reviewed since the last general election as required by the law.
The party also said the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko,and the PDP government could not be trusted to do anything right.
“Many times the governor has deceived the people and this election cannot be different. Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is highly deficient in character, integrity and fairness that he cannot be trusted to midwife any free and fair electoral process,” APC alleged.
“To participate is to help massage Mimiko’s ego, support illegality and to allow ourselves to be distracted from our singular mission of wresting power from the PDP in a few months’ time.”
The party also cited a subsisting case on the matter at the Supreme Court by aggrieved elected chairmen under the late Dr Olusegun Agagu-led administration, whose tenure Mimiko terminated on assumption of office in 2009.
“The governor who had therefore refrained from conducting the local government election for the past seven years for this reason cannot suddenly rush to conduct the same election in less than ten months to the end of his tenure,” the party submitted.
“The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) is composed of PDP card-carrying members. We cannot participate in an election where the Chairman of ODIEC, Prof. Olugbenga Ige and his team are registered members of the PDP.
“Worse still, those who would preside over our complaints after the election are known sympathisers of the ruling PDP government.”
APC further stated that the election was a waste of public resources at a time when workers in Ondo State were groaning over unpaid five months salaries, while the government was committing huge resources of unknown amount to an election.
“We therefore call on all our sympathisers to remain peaceful and stay at home during these election hours,” the party counselled.
“They should use the opportunity to reflect on the state of affairs of our state and pray for the deliverance of the state from its present day tormentors.
“In the meantime, not minding the outcome of our application for injunction in the court, we would continue to use all legal means to challenge this outgoing government of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his party in the wild goose chase they are taking in the name of local government election,” the party said.