One of the aspirants for the position of the President of the Communications Student Association of Lagos State University (COSA-LASU), Ogunkanmi Adefolarin Jacob, charged the COSA Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, to the LASUSU High Court due to the latter’s decision to disqualify him from running for a presidential position and won.
According to the IEC, the presidential aspirant who is popularly known as J4 was disqualified on Sunday 17 April 2022 because the aspirant failed to meet the requirement to run for the position according to the 2014/2015 constitution. The constitution in question prescribes that any communications student who wishes to contest for the seat of the president of the association has to have spent at least two academic sessions in the university.
Jacob, who happens to be a year-old direct-entry student, had only spent one academic session and a semester, so following the IEC adherence to that clause of the constitution he was disqualified.
However, reports have shown that the 2014/2015 constitution was amended by the 13th COSA administration led by Comrade Bola in 2018/2019 which allows students who have spent one academic session to run for election, thereby granting the D.E. students an equal opportunity in the association’s politics.
There were claims that the 2018/2019 constitution did not follow due process and the Speaker of the House was accused of manipulating the process of the amendment. But the Speaker of the Parliament at the time, Victor Okoma, claimed otherwise and further supported his claim by saying “The president assented to the amendment and the constitution was used to usher in the 14th COSA administration led by Comrade Akannishelle in 2019/2020.”
According to the Presidential aspirant, the IEC advised him to go to the Student Judicial Council, SJC to seek redress which he did and received an injunction from the court to halt the manifesto program held for other election candidates on Tuesday 19, April 2022 at the Eco Library. He said, “There [was] resistance by the IEC members and the Speaker of the Parliament to stop the Manifesto declaration in which they succumbed to, although after the intervention of the Dean of the LASU School of Communication, Professor Alawode, and the Dean of Students Affairs, Dr Tajudeen Olumoko, the manifesto was allowed to continue.”
After several mediated talks with the DSA, the aggrieved aspirant filed a lawsuit at the LASUSU high court on Friday, the 22nd of April 2022 and the hearing was scheduled to hold on Thursday 28 April 2022.
According to the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Committee IEC for the Communication Students Association, Abdul-Sobur Abiola Oladimeji, he personally tried as much as possible to settle the dispute before it got to the court but according to him the Claimant believes the court is the only place he can speak out his opinion and feelings.
The aspirant said: “Although there have been different dialogue media when there is an issue between two parties it’s usually easier for both of them to come down to a common ground where they will be forced to reach an agreement which is the rule of law. Once the Rule of Law brings supremacy, every party would have to sheath their swords.”
After much argument between the Counsel of the Defendant (IEC) and the Counsel of the Claimant (Jacob) and the evidence submitted by both parties to the court, the Court ruled in favour of the claimant. In the words of the Chief Judge of the Court: ” The court hereby finds the disqualification of the Claimant malicious, null and void.”
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