by Stanley Azuakola
It was one of the most controversial results from last year’s Lagos State local council elections. The Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Babajide Obanikoro was coasting to victory in the Ikoyi Obalende Local Council Development Area election according to most observers of the election. However, Lagos State is a predominantly Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and a PDP victory would have been a big upset. When the results were announced, Obanikoro had lost, and the ACN candidate Adewala Adeniji was declared winner.
The Ikoyi Obalende local council has sentimental value for the ruling party in Lagos. It is the council which houses the famed leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose residential address is at 26 Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi.
Now, the result which gave the ACN victory has been upturned at the Lagos State Local Government Election Tribunal sitting in Ikeja. Babajide Obanikoro, the well-liked son of Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, was declared the winner of that election held in October last year.
The five-man tribunal headed by retired Justice Dolapo Akinsanya agreed with the PDP candidate that the result of the council polls declared by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) was manipulated against Obanikoro. The tribunal held that Obanikoro won the election by 6,780 votes as against 6,248 polled by ACN.
It arrived at this figure after voiding the results of some polling units and wards due to irregularities, and then computing that of other units and wards.
Consequently, the tribunal ordered that Babajide Obanikoro be declared as winner of the poll, and be sworn in as the council chairman of Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA. The PDP candidate, Babajide Obanikoro, was not in court when the judgment was delivered, however, the verdict by the tribunal led to jubilation by hundreds of his supporters who were on hand.
By the way, in addition to losing the seat to the PDP, and the embarrassment that comes with it, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was also asked to pay N100,000 as legal costs to the PDP. Ouch!