The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has significantly ruled in the ongoing legal battle over the March 18 governorship election results. In a recent development, the tribunal has struck out the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, from the petition brought forth by Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP candidate is challenging the election victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
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During Monday’s court proceedings, the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Arum Ashom, declared that judgment in the case would first be delivered regarding the PDP and its candidate, with review in Rhodes-Vivour’s petition to follow. The tribunal panel includes two other judges, namely Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh.
The tribunal’s judgment, as delivered by Justice Abdullahi, initially addressed several preliminary objections raised by the parties involved.
The first issue examined was whether the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat (the 3rd Respondent), was a separate and distinct candidate from Babajide Sanwo-Olu (the 2nd Respondent). The tribunal also considered whether the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition. The tribunal ruled that a deputy governor and governor are not separate candidates and are not required to pay different security deposits.
The second objection brought to the tribunal’s attention was whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition. Jandor had joined Rhodes-Vivour as a respondent in his petition. The tribunal concluded that a petition is intended to be filed between the winner and the loser of an election, not between two individuals who both lost.
As a result, the tribunal upheld the preliminary objection and struck out Rhodes-Vivour’s name from Jandor’s petition. All exhibits and evidence tendered by Rhodes-Vivour in Jandor’s petition were expunged from the tribunal’s records. Furthermore, the tribunal held that Rhodes-Vivour could not subsequently challenge any part of the judgment in Jandor’s petition or risk becoming a meddlesome interloper.
Additionally, the tribunal determined that the Labour Party (the 6th Respondent) should not have been made a respondent in Jandor and the PDP’s petition. The tribunal consequently struck out the party’s name for being improperly joined, and all evidence and exhibits related to the party were expunged from the tribunal’s records.
Notably, the tribunal did not accept the objections raised by the APC and its candidate, arguing that the joinder of the Labour Party and its candidate should not be grounds for striking out the petition. Instead, the tribunal maintained that the appropriate action was to strike out the parties’ names.
The judgment hearing continues as of this report, marking a pivotal moment in the legal proceedings surrounding the Lagos State Governorship Election.
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