Governor Babatunde Fashola
Almost 10 months after the conclusion of local government election in Lagos State, tribunals set up to hear petitions arising from the poll are still sitting.
The local government election petitions’ tribunals which are empowered by law to sit for only 180 days appear not to have made appreciable progress.
When THISDAY visited one of the tribunals sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island at the weekend, it found that sitting on that day was adjourned to August 1, following a fresh application for change of counsel by a respondent in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Otunba Busari Akande, against the declaration of Mr. Augustine Arogundade of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as winner of the October 22, 2011 poll in Agbado/Oke Odo Local Council Development Area.
At the sitting, Mr. Kunle Adegoke, the new counsel for Arogundade, had filed fresh application for change of counsel on behalf of the first respondent with a view to having separate counsel for the first, second (ACN) and third respondents (State Independent Electoral Commission).
Hitherto, one Mr. C.O. Adeyemi had appeared for all the respondents.
However, lead counsel to the petitioners, Otunba Kunle Kaleijaye, opposed the application and consequently, sitting that day was adjouned to August 1, after Kaleijaye requested from the presiding judge, Justice F.A. Owobiyi, more time to reply to the application.
Adegoke said he did not expect any opposition to the application since it is “a harmless litigation.” Given the events that day, nothing gave any hint in sight as regards the likely conclusion of the case very soon.