The High Court of Lagos State had on Thursday, May 17th ordered an injunction prohibiting the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) from conducting elections into its vacant positions.
The restraining order will last until May 23rd, one week after it was proclaimed, after which another court hearing will be had.
According to the exparte order of injunction which was obtained by Nairametrics, the ruling was granted in favour of some aggrieved members of the accounting body led by Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, who filed a suit on the 14th of May, seeking an Order of Interlocutory Injunction aimed at restraining the defendant, ICAN, “from applying or seeking to apply the rule of ‘VERIFICATION/UPDATING OF MEMBER’ PROFILE'” during the organisation’s election hitherto scheduled for May 18th.
The claimants in the suit include- Oluseyi Olarewaju, Lateef Kazeem, Apanisile Olumide Adebowale, Balogun Yunusa Adeboye and Saheed Lasisi. The defendants, on the other hand, are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and its President, Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari.
Background to the story
Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, in a sworn affidavit he deposited, stated that on May 26th, 2017 during ICAN’s 52nd Annual General Meeting, members reached a unanimous resolution to annul the following ICAN election rules-
- Group Voting and
- Profile Update as a precondition for voting
These rules, he alleged, “had for years beguiled its election into council and has been used by members in council to perpetuate themselves in power.”
He further stated that the ICAN President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari, had on April 6th, 2018 circulated a letter to all members, informing them of his decision to veto their unanimous resolution of May 26th, 2017.
According to Olarewaju’s deposition, the President’s reason for this decision was that the issues of member’s profile update and group voting were never on the agenda of the 2017 AGM and as such, do not suffice.
Olarewaju, however, noted that the minute of the meeting would attest to the fact that such issues were indeed deliberated upon, with a unanimous decision reached to its effect.
He further noted that the complainants had on April 14 written a rejoinder, reminding the President that the ICAN AGM “is the highest lawmaking body of the 1st Defendant and thus, any resolution taken remains valid until same is annulled by a subsequent Annual General Meeting.”
Meanwhile, despite the protests, ICAN and its Governing Council went ahead to conduct the controversial profile update verification exercise and even fixed May 18 (i.e., Saturday) as the commencement date for the 2018 Council Elections.
Olarewaju, through his affidavit further stated that the complainants strongly believe that nearly 38, 000 out of 40, 000 ICAN ‘financial members’ did not partake in the profile update exercise. What this means, therefore, is that 38, 000 members of the organisation were disenfranchised.
The complainants also believed that the Council had plans to make use of Group Voting during the election which had since been placed on hold by the Lagos High Court ruling.
Note, therefore, that it was in a bid to prevent the Governing Council from conducting an illegal election that the injunction was sought, and granted.