By Rita Elenwo
The Lagos Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Olajide Adediran, Jandor against the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.
The tribunal upheld the election of Governor Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Hamzat.
The three-person Tribunal presided over by Justice Arum Ashom threw out the petition for lacking in merit.
In an unanimous judgment, it held that all the issues raised by the petitioners are pre-election matters of which the Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain.
Other members of the panel are Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh.
Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Rhodes-Vivour, who polled 312,329.
The candidate of the PDP, Adediran, came third with 62,449 votes.
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 asked 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 declared that Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Hamzat are eminently qualified to contest the March 18 governorship election in the state under section 177 of the Constitution.
Judgei, stated this while delivering judgment in the petition filed against their election by the PDP candidate, Adediran.
The judge noted that they are members of political party and educated up to school certificate level.
Section 177 of the constitution stipulated that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
“(b) He has attained the age of thirty-five years; (c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”
“We have considered evidence before this court. He has highest number of votes.
“This petition is dead on arrival. In view of evidence adduced before the court, the grounds on which the petitioners is seeking disqualification of 2nd and 3rd respondents lacks merit.
“I have found Governor Sanwo-Olu and deputy Dr Hamzat duly elected and therefore declared them winner,” the Tribunal ruled before proceeding on recess.Follow us on social media