Lagos Guber: Tribunal Reserves Judgment In Petitions Against Sanwo-Olu, Deputy

2023-08-12 20:14:12

Independent Newspapers Nigeria

LAGOS - The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petitions against the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.

Justice Arum Igyen Ashom who led the tribunal, said it would communicate a date for judgment to the parties after counsels adopted their final written addresses.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Olajide Adediran, popularly called Jandor and his Labour Party counterpart, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour are challenging the return of the All Progressives Congress (APC)'s governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as well as his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the March 18 governorship elections in Lagos State.

While the two petitioners were absent, the third respondent (Hamzat) was present in court on Saturday.

INEC is the first respondent in the petition, while Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are listed as the second and third respondents respectively, while the APC is listed as the fourth respondent.

Adopting his address, Governor Sanwo-Olu's counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, asked the court to dismiss the petitions of the Labour Party and that of the Peoples Democratic Party for lacking in merit and a mere academic exercise.

Olaonipekun stressed that there was no reference to the second respondent but instead the address dwelt on the third respondent.

He said, "They have abandoned their petition and also abandoned any issues against the second respondent."

He said the matter of non-qualification of the deputy governor as claimed by the Labour Party was to no issue as the allegation of his renunciation of Nigerian citizenship and the swearing of oath of allegiance to the United States were not sufficiently proven.

Similarly, counsel to the All Progressives Congress, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, contended that the argument of the petitioner about citizenship of the deputy governor were not duly proven by the petitioners.

Olatunji Benson, counsel to Labour Party and its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, asked the tribunal to hold the position of his clients that the deputy governor did not qualify to contest and he and the governor should be removed from office and the petitioner declared as the governor of Lagos State.

Adopting his final written address, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, Clement Onwuenwunor, argued that Governor Sanwo-Olu did not have a secondary school leaving certificate and therefore was not qualified to be governor.

Counsel for INEC, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Charles Edosonwan, in the adoption of his final written address, asked the Tribunal to dismiss Rhodes-Viviour's petition for lack of 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."

2023-08-12 News