The nationwide indefinite industrial action embarked on by the Judiciary Staff Union Nigeria, or JUSUN, on Monday stalled the continuous hearing of a suit filled at the Federal High Court, in Akure, by the Labour Party. It is a suit challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC's) declaration of the by-election into the seat of Ilaje/Ese-Odo federal constituency area of Ondo State as ‘inconclusive’.
Dayo Akinlaja filed the Labour Party suit, numbered FHC/AK/CS/28/14 on its behalf. That suit is asking the court for a declaration that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Returning Officer for the election has no power to declare the election as inconclusive. In the suit, the party is also asking the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to declare its candidate in the election, Mr. Kolade Akinjo, the winner, after having scored the highest number of votes.
Apart from declaring its candidate the winner, the party also sought the order preventing INEC and the Returning Officer from conducting a supplementary election in respect of the vacant seat. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Adewale Kukute, is also seeking to join the suit filed by the Labour Party, over the inconclusive by-election. However, the electoral body and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through their counsel, Don Umelo and Chief Olusola Oke, had filed a preliminary objections to the suit of the LP.
At a supposed resume hearing on Monday, the nationwide industrial action could not allow the court case to come up for mention. Private security personnel manning the entrance of the gate had barred litigants, lawyers, reporters, and some judiciary workers from gaining access onto the premises of the Federal High Court sitting in Akure.
One of the security personnel told a SaharaReporters correspondent that the sitting of the case would not hold due to the nationwide industrial strike. Party faithfuls and loyalists who had earlier besieged the court for the continuous hearing of the suit with their vehicles, as a normal practice, were turned back.
Apart from the JUSUN strike, a SaharaReporters Correspondent in Akure reported that Justice Isiaka Sanni, the presiding judge, had on two different occasions had been absent from the court without cogent reasons.
The Judiciary Staff Union Nigeria (JUSUN) National President, Comrade Marwan Adamu had said in Abuja last week that the strike was the association’s last resort to press home its demands, and stressed that it would continue until the demands were met.
Observers in the state are complaining that the judiciary system of the country is being ‘endangered’ with the delay in justice adjudication. Despite the National strike by the JUSUN, the Ondo State branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), have still not resolved their strike with the state government.
Justice has been delayed in the state for close to a month, with accused persons in prison custody pleading for a quick resumption of court proceedings.