On Monday, the Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal dismissed the preliminary objection presented by the All Progressives Congress (APC). The APC had sought the dismissal of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) petition. The basis for dismissing this objection was the PDP’s failure to adhere to the Electoral Act’s provisions regarding the payment of security costs.
Justice Mikail Abdullahi, a member of the three-member tribunal panel, read various preliminary motions challenging the competency of certain aspects of the petition and ultimately dismissed the objection.
The dispute revolves around the outcome of the March 18, 2023, governorship election in which Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged as the winner, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Sanwo-Olu secured a significant victory, with Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party finishing second, and Olajide Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP coming in third place.
In their petition, Adediran and the PDP raised two key points. Firstly, they claimed that at the time of the election, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, were not qualified to run for office. Secondly, they argued that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, who INEC declared as the second-highest vote-getter, was also ineligible to contest.
The respondents in this case included INEC, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, the APC, Rhodes-Vivour, and the Labour Party.
Adediran, the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate, requested the disqualification of the APC and Labour Party candidates in the election due to alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act of 2022 and INEC guidelines.
However, the APC, in their preliminary objection, sought the Tribunal’s dismissal of the PDP’s petition. The Tribunal, though, rejected this objection.
Furthermore, certain motions filed by the second and third respondents to strike out specific paragraphs of the petition and additional statements on oaths, which were submitted outside the 21-day window prescribed by the Electoral Act, partially succeeded. Paragraphs 2 to 11 of the Petition were struck out, along with the corresponding additional statement on oath.
Additionally, the Labour Party’s request to have its name removed from the PDP’s petition was granted.
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