Late on Monday night, the Lagos State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal confirmed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s reelection as the state’s legitimately elected leader.
The two petitions submitted by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate Olajide Adediran, as well as that of the Labour Party and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, were both rejected by the three-person panel in a unanimous judgement.
Jandor, the PDP candidate, disagreed with the decision.
Regarding the PDP petition, the tribunal found that it lacked merit and dismissed it as a result in its ruling, which was read out by Justice Mikail Abdullahi on behalf of the three-person panel.
“I affirm the election and return of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected governor of Lagos State. Parties are to bear their cost,” the judge held.
Earlier, the tribunal addressed all the preliminary objections raised by the parties before considering the issues raised for determination.
The tribunal entertained the question of whether it had the competence and jurisdiction to hear the petition. Justice Abdullahi answered this question in the affirmative and held that this issue had already been resolved at the preliminary objection stage.
The second issue for the tribunal’s determination was whether Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat were validly nominated by their party, All Progressives Congress, to contest the polls. The tribunal cited relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act and a plethora of decided cases to the effect that this was a pre-election issue that did not relate to the conduct of the polls being challenged.
The tribunal also held that the petitioners are not members of the 4th respondent, the APC, and therefore have no locus to challenge the primaries of the party that produced both men.
On the issue of the forged certificate allegedly presented by Sanwo-Olu, 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 principal of the school, or any of the staff to testify about the certificate.
In the final analysis, the tribunal held, “that the petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.
After a 10-minute break, the tribunal reconvened to consider the Petition filed by the LP candidate, Rhodes-Vivour.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Arum Ashom, in his lead judgment, dismissed the petition, declaring it lacked merit.
Regarding the Deputy Governor’s oath of allegiance to the United States of America, the tribunal determined that because he was born a citizen of Nigeria, his oath of allegiance to the US did not bar him from running for office.
As a result, the tribunal upheld INEC’s conclusion that Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat were legitimately elected as governor and deputy.
PDP’s Jandor expressed his disappointment over the judgement in a statement released by the spokesman for his campaign team, claiming it was at odds with the Electoral Act’s and the constitution’s provisions.
He stated that he would further consider the judgement before determining his course of action.