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29th LASUSU Election And It's Crises

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29th LASUSU Election And It's Crises. by Yahya09(f): 9:56pm on October 2
*Being A joint Press Statement Of the Movement for Sustainable LASUSU and Synergy Agenda Team*

*WE CALL ON THE LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT TO UPHOLD THE RULE OF LAW AND ENFORCE THE VERDICT OF THE STUDENTS UNION ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL*


27/05/2019

Greatest Lasuites,

Men of the press,

General public,

_‘No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right, not asked as a favor." ~ Theodore Roosevelt_


The struggle before us has long move from the struggle for the personal realisation of our individual ambition to the struggle to uphold the rule of law and the independence of our great Union.


According to Thomas Hobbes in his theory of human nature, he described human nature as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". Hobbes concluded that Free Man needs strong law to live in peace and harmony. Hobbes saw absolute government as the only alternative to the terrifying anarchy of a state of nature. It therefore means that to maintain peace and harmony in the society there must be rule of law and it must be respected by all.


On our part, as law abiding citizens and students of Lagos State University, we have demonstrated conveniently respect for rule of law by seeking justice at the Election Petition Tribunal as provided by section 57(1) of the LASUSU constitution after the outcome of the LASUSU Election 18/19 held on the 27th of February, 2019. The election which was an electronic voting process had earlier been declared inconclusive and later declared conclusive after a period of 14days without any conclusive election.


On the 27th of March, 2019, The Tribunal held that the person earlier declared by the Students Union Independent Electoral Commission as winner of the presidential election held on the 27th of February, 2019 is not due as winner of the presidential election and that a new election should be conducted within seven working days. However, the University management in violation of the Election Petition Tribunal decision went ahead to Inaugurate the presume winner as president of the Union. Not only that, they deliberately disrespect the decision of the Tribunal while the seven working days last. After about two weeks of the Tribunal judgement, The presume winner proceeded to the High Court to get a default declaration on the composition of the Tribunal.


As part of our efforts towards following due process, we called the attention of the University Vice Chancellor who is a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to the contempt of law under his watch, he set up a three man fact finding committee to look into the matter. We appeared before the fact finding committee out of respect for constituted authority and pray before the committee; to ask the presume winner to step aside pending the outcome of the committee enquiry and to guide the University authority to respect the rule of law by enforcing the Tribunal decision.
Thereafter, the University in violation of the Tribunal judgement and our appeal to the committee deliberately work with and recorgnise the presume winner as president of the union. In fact, today makes it 2month since we got the Tribunal judgement and the University management has not make any conscious effort to enforce the Tribunal judgement.


During our interactions with the facts finding committee, we discovered that the High Court declaration on the composition of the Tribunal which was gotten by default after two weeks the Tribunal pronounced it own Judgement was the basis the management held on to justify it's action. However, prior to that, the Ag. Dean of students affairs had earlier argued in a position paper where he acknowledged the Tribunal decision that "legality can not be built on illegality". He further said, "the decision of the Tribunal was based on a petition filled outside the 3 days prescribed by the students union constitution".


Meanwhile, assuming without conceding that the High court declaration and the Ag. Dean Students Affairs argument was valid, we understand that section 57( of the Students Union Constitution provides that any Appeals from the Tribunal shall go straight to the Court of Appeals. As we write, the decision of the Tribunal is yet to be Appeals at any court of competent jurisdiction within the union. More so, the two positions had been raised as objections by the counsel to the presume winner before the Tribunal and Tribunal held that it's duly composed based on doctrine of neccessity and the petition was filed within time giving that the 3days does not include weekends. The Tribunal therefore dismissed the objections and entertained the substantive case.


It therefore came to our dismay that, despite the clear position of the law, and our commitment towards seeking redress following due process and ensuring peace. The Authorities of Lagos State University particularly the Students Affairs Division LASU are hellbent on frustrating due process in complete violation of our democratic right and the Tribunal decision.


In a bid to ensure the enforsement of the Tribunal decision and giving that majority of the member of the Independent Electoral Committee had already graduated we petition the Students Parliamentary Council on the Unlawful parade of the presume winner as president of the Union and call it to prevail on the matter to ensure that the Tribunal decision was enforced. In fact instead of the parliament to act on the petition, it continues to relate with the presume winner as president the union without recourse to the Tribunal decision. When we quried further, this time informally, the Speaker of the Students Parliamentary Council noted that the parliament lack power to intervene in such matter and that it is the duty of the students affairs division to enforce court verdict.


We also met with the Students Union Lawyer, He attempted to arbitrate for us giving that the health of the Union is what is important and that the leadership tussle is a house divided against itself. He proposed that we concede to each other but the presume winner insisted that he can't concede for a rerun, while we at our meeting with our supporters, noted that giving the Tribunal judgement, there is 'No Legitimate Students Union President' unless there is a rerun or a Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the Tribunal.


Today makes it two (2) months that the Tribunal annulled the presidential election held on the 27th of February, 2019 and ordered for a fresh election. In spite of this Standing Ruling the University management continues to violate not only our democratic right but serve as obstacles to due democratic process.


Our Concern is that, bad precedence must not go down in history of our union most especially because we are in a university community where Young Leaders inculcate the core principles of rule of law and democracy. Whatever experiences we learnt today as undergraduates will form our political culture as future leaders. Therefore, It is duty bond on us including the University management to make our democracy works for all irrespective of class or ideas.


_"He who desires respect for law must make the law respected" ~ Justice Louis D. Braindeis_

We noted unequivocally that, there is no small court. What we are interested in is to ensure that due democractic process takes it full course, We are fully aware that the University itself is a creation of Law and as such can not and will not be above the Law. It is to this end that we urge the University Authority not to be selective in their discharge of justice, to respect the rule of Law and enforce the Tribunal Decision.


As law abiding students, we shall continue to take other neccessary actions within the ambit of law to protect our democratic rights in consonance with the rule of law as students of Lagos State University and citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Signed:

Ajayi Peter Cephas.

Ademayowa Emmanuel

For: Movement for Sustainable LASUSU. Synergy Agenda Team.

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