HON. Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, the immediate past chairman of Lagos Island Local Government Council has every reason to be joyous again, because he has won back his mandate to contest the House of Assembly election on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos gave him back his mandate when it ordered INEC to restore his name on candidates’ register in place of Hon. Hakeem Agboola Masha, whose name was earlier forwarded by APC to INEC.
Justice Ibrahim Buba, in his ruling, said he was relying on a letter written by the APC asking INEC to recognize Hon. Wasu Eshinlokun Sanni as the party’s candidate for the Saturday, April 11, 2015 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The letter, with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/015/175 and dated January 15, 2015, was signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the party (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun and Mai Mala Buni respectively.
Part of the letter read thus: “We write to request for the reinstatement of our party’s substituted candidate Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, in respect of Lagos Island Constituency I for the Lagos House of Assembly.”
The judge also made an order restraining Hon. Hakeem Agboola-Masha from parading himself as the candidate of the APC for election into Lagos Island Constituency I of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni had contested the Lagos APC primaries for Lagos Island Constituency I seat with four other aspirants on December 2, 2014 primary elections. He emerged winner with 186 votes. The closest person to him was Hon. Hakeem Agboola-Masha, the incumbent lawmaker, who scored 70 votes.
But to Eshinlokun Sanni’s chagrin and dismay, it was Hakeem Agboola-Masha’s name that was on the candidates’ list of INEC.
He suspected a foul play. The APC in Lagos said that they submitted his name to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja. It was at the National Headquarters that his name was said to have been substituted with that of Hakeem Agboola-Masha.
The excuse given was that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party met based on a petition written by Hakeem Masha that Eshinlokun Sanni was one of the party members that signed his own nomination form and therefore, he was not qualified to contest the primary election with him.
He also pointed out in his petition that Eshinlokun Sanni flouted one of the laws of the party by resigning his position as General Secretary of the party 16 days to the election instead of the 30 days stipulated by the party’s constitution.
Based on these allegations, the NWC of the party was said to have nullified his election and substituted his name with that of Hakeem Agboola-Masha.
But Hon. Eshinlokun Sanni did not believe this. He knew there was more than met the eyes in nullification of his election and substitution of his name.
He, therefore, went to court. In the suit number FHC/L/CS/34/15, he had accused the APC of illegally transferring his mandate to Masha, who polled 70 votes against his own 186 votes.
Hon. Eshinlokun Sanni through his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu sought a declaration of the court that the substitution of his name in the list forwarded to INEC with that of Masha ran foul of the provisions of Sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 of the Electoral Act, 2010.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, however, gathered that the substitution of Eshinlokun Sanni’s name was by a powerful clique in the House of Assembly, who are working on the rumour that he is being positioned as the next Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly.
– TOLANI ABATTI