Lagos Tribunal Dismisses PDP, Jandor’s Petition Against Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate for the March 18 election, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor.

The three-man Tribunal presided over by Justice Arum Ashom threw out the petition for lacking merit.

The Tribunal, in a unanimous judgment, held that all the issues raised by the petitioners are pre-election matters of which the Tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to entertain.

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Other members of the panel are Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who polled 312,329.

The candidate of the PDP, Adediran, came third with 62,449 votes.

In the judgment read by Justice Mikail Abdullahi on behalf of the three-person panel, the Tribunal held that the petitioners are not members of the fourth respondent, the APC, and therefore have no locus to challenge the party’s primaries that produced both men.

On the issue of the forged certificate allegedly presented by Governor SanwoOlu, the tribunal noted, amongst other things, that the petitioner, Jandor, who testified in his petition, told the court that he did not attend the school, Community Grammar School, Ijebu-Ife where the certificate originated from. He had also testified that the principal of the school was still alive.

The tribunal wondered why he didn’t call as a witness the school’s principal or any of the staff to testify about the certificate.

“This petition is dead on arrival given the evidence adduced before the court, the grounds on which the petitioners are seeking disqualification of second and third respondents lack merit.

In the final analysis, the tribunal held “that the petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed”. “I affirm the election and return of Babajide Olusola SanwoOlu-Olu as the duly elected governor of Lagos state. Parties are to bear their cost.”

The Tribunal is yet to deliver the judgment in Rhodes-Vivour’s petition.

Respondents in the petition filed by the PDP and Jandor are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.

They are asking the Tribunal to disqualify Sanwo-Olu and Rhodes-Vivour for “non-compliance” with the Electoral Act 2022 as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the petition marked EPT/LAG/GOV/01/2023 dated April 7, the petitioners said APC did not comply with the INEC timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, which stipulated that all political parties must give 21 days’ notice to INEC before the conduct of the primary election.

Besides the allegation of non-compliance with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Adediran added that at the time of the governorship election, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, and Rhodes-Vivour were not qualified to contest the election.

He asked that all votes cast for them in the election be declared wasted and Adediran should be declared the winner.

The Tribunal had earlier struck out the name of the Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, from the petition.

The Tribunal, while delivering a ruling on the preliminary objection filed by Rhodes-Vivour, that the LP Party candidate is not a necessary party to the petition.

The Tribunal held that the law only permits the candidate that lost an election to the winner and the electoral body.

The Tribunal had also dismissed the preliminary objections filed by the third Respondent, the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat.

Hamzat had argued in his objection that he is a separate and distinct candidate from the 2nd respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu-Olu.

He had also asked the Tribunal to determine whether the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition.

But in its ruling, the Tribunal held that the issue had been decided in several cases and went on to hold that a deputy governor and governor are not separate candidates and they are not required to pay a separate security deposit.

More details later.

15th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph