The Lagos State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has upheld the return of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected governor of the state.
In a unanimous judgment read by Justice Mikail Abdullahi on behalf of the three-man panel on Monday, the tribunal held that the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate Olajide Adediran lacks merit, and the same is accordingly dismissed.
In reaching the verdict, the court first dwelt on the preliminary objections raised by the parties before considering the issues raised for determination.
The tribunal entertained the question of whether it had the competence and jurisdiction to hear the petition. Justice Abdullahi answered this question in the affirmative and held that this issue had already been resolved at the preliminary objection stage.
The second issue for the tribunal’s determination was whether Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat were validly nominated by their party = All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the polls. The tribunal cited relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act and a plethora of decided cases to the effect that this was a pre-election issue that did not relate to the conduct of the polls being challenged.
The tribunal also held that the petitioners are not members of the 4th respondent, the APC, and therefore have no locus to challenge the primaries of the party that produced both men.
On the issue of the forged certificate allegedly presented by Governor Sanwo-Olu, the tribunal noted amongst other things that the petitioner Jandor who testified in his petition told the court that he (Sanwo-Olu) did not attend the school, Community Grammar School, Ijebu-Ife, where the certificate originated from. He had also testified that the principal of the school was still alive.
The tribunal wondered why he didn’t call as a witness, the principal of the school, or any of the staff to testify about the certificate.
In the final analysis, the tribunal held, “that the petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.
“I affirm the election and return of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected governor of Lagos state. Parties are to bear their cost.”
The tribunal has now taken a break to reconvene shortly to give judgment on the petition of the Labour Party (LP).