Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Photo/Channelstv
A Lagos High Court, Ikeja, has restrained the Incorporated Trustees Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) from conducting its elections, slated for between today, June 13 and June 24.
Justice L.A.M Folami issued order on May 31, 2022, following a motion exparte filed by Femi Falana SAN on behalf of some aggrieved members of the institution.
The applicants are Olagoke Oladipupo, Alarape Olalekan, Fatoki Olusola, Kasimu Danladi, Ogunsola Olawale, Taniobola Olasukanmi, Edemo Samuel and Adebayo Adebola, while the electoral Committees of NIESV was named as second respondent.
The court in granting the application, ordered the applicants to file a memorandum of claim within 14 days, while they shall enter into an undertaking to pay the sum of N20 million as damages to the respondents to indemnify them in event that the memorandum of claim is not filed within the specified time and the case is not prosecuted diligently.
“I have given a careful consideration to the circumstances of this case particularly the averments in paragraphs 10-15 and the exhibits attached thereto. The court is convinced that there is an urgent need to restrain the respondents from conducting its upcoming elections pending the applicants compliance with the pre-action protocol pursuant to the practice direction of No.2 of the High Court of Lagos State, 2019. Suit,” the court held.
In the suit marked: NO:ID/5850CM/2022, the applicants had asked the court for a pre-emptive order restraining the first respondent, whether by itself, servants, agents and privies from conducting the forthcoming elections slated between today, June 13 and June 24, forthwith, pending the applicants’ compliance with the provisions of pre-action protocol, pursuant to the practice directive No 2 of the High Court of Lagos State 2019.
They also asked the court for a preemptive order suspending the conduct of the said election by the second respondent on the same ground.
The suit is predicated on the ground that there was an urgent need to preserve the rights and interest of the applicants in the forthcoming elections of the first respondent by the grant of an order of the court, restraining the respondents from conducting the elections slated for June 13- 24, 2022.
The applicants also averred that following the schedule of activities for the forthcoming elections released by the second respondent, it is glaring that the 2018 Electoral Appeal Committee recommendation as adopted by the Extra ordinary General Meeting of Thursday, September, 2018 and further adopted by the 48th Annual General Meeting of the Institution held on March 23, 2019 for the purpose of conducting credible and rancour free elections is not strictly adhered to by the second respondent.
They contended that they (applicants) will be at a great disadvantage if the forthcoming elections of the first respondent is conducted considering the fact that the IT firm appointed by the second respondent, is a non-credible and non-reputable firm, who had manipulated elections results in the past years.
The applicants’ application is supported with 18 paragraphed affidavit of the third applicant, marked as exhibits A1-A12, the memorandum of claim to be filed by the applicants as well as the affidavit of Certificate of Identification pursuant to Section 84 of the Evident Act.
Also, the application is supported by the written address of the counsel to the applicants.
Explaining why they went to court, Mr. Sola Fatoki, on behalf of the applicants, recalled that 12 financial members cutting across all categories from associates and fellows had raised concern about the conduct of the 2022 elections with suspected violation of certain resolutions (concerning the appointment of reputable IT firm) of their 2018 EGM Resolutions in a letter dated March 14, 2022.
According to him, the chairman of the electoral committee replied the letter denying that no IT firm had been appointed then.
“Following the discovery of another clandestine elections activities by the suspected IT firm (Nexusmax) the concerned members wrote another letter insisting on absolute compliance with 2018 EGM Resolutions and ratified at the 2019 AGM. Again the electoral committee ignored this letter.
“Again, effort made to call for EGM to resolve the 2018 EGM resolution disobedience, by 165 members was stopped on technical ground after some members were reportedly threatened, leading to insufficient number of Fellows required for calling the EGM.
“The Council meeting of 23rd April, 2022 held in Port Harcourt also resolved that Electoral Committee should comply with the EGM 2018 Resolutions.
“Further Intervention by the Committee of past Presidents of the Institution led by Mr. Adetola Shote was ignored. Several other appeals by other noble colleagues simply went unheeded.
“Having exhausted all internal mechanisms to bring sanity and objectivity into our electoral system by ensuring that the electoral committee complies with the binding resolutions of our 2018 EGM, some of the concerned members approached the court for the interpretation of the letters of the 2018 EGM Resolutions.
“Our objectives in taking this action is to ensure that our activities as a responsible professional body, are guided by the rule of law, and that our elections are conducted in an atmosphere devoid of votes manipulation and other electoral malpractices and rigging, which could injure our interests as bonafide members of the institution.
“The action is not a declaration of war but one taken to establish the true status of our EGM resolutions in this regard.
“We believe that the little inconvenience that this action may cause us as a body would be more than compensated by the long term clarity and dispute removal that will eventually result from its resolution.
“We, therefore, plead for your understanding as we discharge this duty in the interest of our institution’s progress,” he added.
Meanwhile, The Guardian learnt from a senior executive of NIESV that the council will soon meet to discuss the matter.