- adopts written addresses from counsels
The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has concluded its proceedings and is now deliberating on the petitions challenging the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. The tribunal, led by Justice Arum Igyen Ashom, has indicated that a date for the judgment will be communicated to the concerned parties after their respective counsels have presented their final written arguments.
Dr. Olajide Adediran, known as Jandor, the Lagos Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party candidate, have jointly challenged the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the All-Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat. This legal challenge stems from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as the winners of the March 18 governorship elections in Lagos State.
Notably, Hamzat, the third respondent in the case, was present in court during the recent proceedings, while the two petitioners were absent.
INEC is the first respondent in the case, while Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are identified as the second and third respondents respectively. The APC is listed as the fourth respondent.
Governor Sanwo-Olu’s legal representative, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, argued for the dismissal of the petitions filed by the Labour Party and the PDP, asserting that they lacked merit and amounted to an academic exercise. Olanipekun highlighted that the petitioners failed to adequately address the second respondent and that the claims of the deputy governor’s non-qualification were unsubstantiated.
Similarly, the APC’s counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, contended that the petitioner’s argument regarding the deputy governor’s citizenship lacked proper evidence.
On the opposing side, Olatunji Benson, counsel for the Labour Party and its candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, called for the removal of Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy from office, asserting that the deputy governor did not meet the qualification criteria to contest the election.
Clement Onwuenwunor, representing the PDP, argued that discrepancies in Governor Sanwo-Olu’s educational records and certificates indicated potential forgery and deception, suggesting his disqualification for office.
In response, INEC’s counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Charles Edosonwan, urged the tribunal to dismiss Rhodes-Viviour’s petition due to lack of substantial evidence.
The verdict of the tribunal, which will address these contentions and determine the outcome of the petitions, is eagerly anticipated.
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