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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Monday, August 16 2004






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Akinfenwa petitions INEC over AD's planned convention
From Seun Adeoye,

A FACTION leader of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Mojisola Akinfenwa, has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its intention to organise a fresh convention for the party.

In a two-page letter to the commission's chairman, Dr. Abel Guobadia, Akinfenwa through his counsel, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), called the body's attention to two pending suits on the party leadership tussle.

He reminded INEC of the two different suits filed by concerned parties both at Lagos and Abuja against the commission.

He said there was already an interlocutory injunction restricting it from recognising any other convention organised or "any fresh convention for the AD pending the determination of the substantive suits."

"It has however come to the knowledge of our client that your commission is intending to organise a fresh convention for the AD due to pressure from certain quarters or factors."

This allegation if true, according to Akintola, amounted to a gross violation of the laws of the land, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a violation of the rule of law "and an affront to the courts of the land and contempt."

He said his client had gone to court seeking the right to be recognised as "authentic elected" officer of the party and for INEC not to recognise any other faction apart from his.

"It would be recalled that your commission, through its counsel, had filed preliminary objections to both the claims and counter claims before the Federal High Court in Lagos but both objections were dismissed by the court on 30th July, 2004," the letter read.

To him, INEC was fully represented in the two high courts and also aware of the pendency of the suits and motions for the said injunctions restricting the electoral body.

"Your commission as an unbiased umpire must not be seen to be against the rule of law and neither must it take side with any of the factions or factional leaders.

"It (INEC) must also steer clear of any controversy bordering on disrespect to court of law and contempt of court. Besides, it will be incongruous that a party who had dragged your commission to court and while the suit is still pending will now turn round to ask you for a fresh remedy in the name of fresh convention when the said party has not withdrawn the suit it filed against your commission from court. This to our mind is absurdity," Akintola further warned.

While restating the opposition of his clients to any form of fresh convention for the AD, he noted that the rule of law must prevail at all times and must be respected by all and sundry.

Two factions of the AD had conducted two separate conventions late last year, with the former AD leader in the Senate emerging as chairman at Abuja convention, while former Osun State Governor, Chief Adebisi Akande, was elected as AD chairman in Lagos.

The AD had zoned the national chairmanship slot to Osun State and both Akinfenwa and Akande from the state could not reconcile their differences but dragged their supporters for two separate conventions.

INEC had refused to recognise any of the factions but gave them October deadline to conduct a fresh convention.

Akande's faction had announced that there was an agreement that a fresh convention should be conducted by INEC by October.

2003 - 2004 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).
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