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National Tribune

Flagging The Conscience Of Truth

Election Tribunal Reserves Judgment in Petitions Against Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Election

ByWeb Manager

Aug 15, 2023
  • adopts written addresses from counsels

The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has opted to withhold its judgment concerning the petitions challenging the victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. The tribunal, presided over by Justice Arum Igyen Ashom, conveyed that a date for delivering the judgment would be communicated to all involved parties subsequent to the final submission of written arguments by counsels.

The petitions lodged by the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Olajide Adediran, widely known as Jandor, and his counterpart from the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, contest the success of All-Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following the March 18 gubernatorial elections in Lagos State.

While both Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour were conspicuously absent during the proceedings, Deputy Governor Hamzat was present in court on the specified day.

Among the respondents, INEC assumes the first position, while Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are designated the second and third respondents respectively. The APC holds the fourth respondent status.

In his presentation, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, legal counsel for Governor Sanwo-Olu, called for the dismissal of the petitions from both the Labour Party and PDP, asserting their lack of merit and their apparent nature as mere academic exercises. He noted a discrepancy regarding the use of terminology in relation to respondents within the petition.

Olatunji Benson, the representative of the Labour Party and its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, urged the tribunal to support their position that the deputy governor did not fulfill the qualification criteria for candidacy, thereby advocating for his removal from office, and for Rhodes-Vivour to be recognized as the rightful governor of Lagos State.

Counsel for the PDP, Clement Onwuenwunor, argued that Governor Sanwo-Olu’s discrepancies in educational documents, notably involving his WAEC statement of results, substantiate the petitioner’s allegations of forgery and untruthfulness under oath. Additionally, he contended that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s absence from the updated Membership Register of the Labour Party submitted to INEC further raises concerns about his eligibility for the March 18th Governorship election.

In response, Charles Edosonwan, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria representing INEC, presented his final written address, requesting the tribunal to dismiss Rhodes-Vivour’s petition due to insufficient evidence.

He said, “One of the issues raised by the petitioner is whether the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act? On this issue, we say that they have provided no scintilla of proof to show it wasn’t.

“A petition erected on such an allegation was sought to be proven by 10 witnesses in a state that has 13,325 polling units. The petition is materially challenged

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