The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal will on Monday deliver judgment in petitions filed by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor.
The Tribunal presided over by Justice Arum Ashom announced the day for judgment over the weekend.
Other members of the panel are Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh.
NIGERIAN PANTAGRAPH reports that the Tribunal received four Governorship Petitions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Action People’s Party (APP).
However, before the commencement of the hearing of the petitions Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Action People’s Party (APP) withdrawn their petitions.
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.
But the Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is the sole petitioner in his petition. The Labour Party was not listed as a co-petitioner.
The respondents in Rhodes-Vivour’s petition are INEC, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat and the APC.
He urged the Tribunal to declare him the winner of the Governorship election on the ground that Sanwo-Olu is not qualified to contest the election.
The Labour Party candidate also argued that Sanwo-Olu’s election was invalid because of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2022 and the 1999 Constitution.
Rhodes-Vivour also submitted that the governor was not duly elected by a majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
On August 12, lawyers in the petitions adopted their final written addresses before the tribunal.
In proof of his petition, Rhodes-Vivour had called 10 witnesses including four subpoenaed witnesses.
In his final written address before the court, Rhodes-Vivour who came second in the polls said his petition was a “litmus test” of the superiority of the provisions of the Constitution and insisted that to dismiss it would be an endorsement of unconstitutionality.
INEC who is the first respondent in the petition called no witnesses but instead tendered two documents which were admitted as exhibits by the tribunal.
The electoral body also asked the tribunal to dismiss Rhodes-Viviour’s petition for lack of evidence.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy who were listed as the second and third respondents in the petition, also asked the tribunal to note the petitioner’s lack of seriousness for the petition as he neither filed a witness statement nor appeared personally to prove his own case.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on its part described Rhodes-Vivour’s petition as “wishy-washy” and lacking evidence.
On his part the PDP governorship candidate asked the Tribunal to disqualify Sanwo-Olu and Rhodes-Vivour for non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s guidelines.
Adeniran and his party asked the tribunal to declare as wasted all votes cast for the two candidates in the election.
INEC in its response submitted that the petition is bereft of evidence. The commission urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety.
The governor, his deputy and their party, through their lawyers, also told the tribunal to dismiss the petition for the same reason.
Rhodes- Vivour in his response described Jandor’s petition as “an academic affair”, noting that the tribunal is not a classroom, but a place for serious business.