The People’s Democratic Party and its Lagos Governorship Candidate in the March 18 election, Abdul-Azeez Adediran, popularly know as Jandor, have petitioned the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
PDP and Jandor are calling for the disqualification of the Governor of Lagos state and governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party for failing to comply with the Electoral Act 2022.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that in the suit marked EPT/LAG/GOV/01/2023, dated April 7, the petitioners challenged the outcome of the March 18 governorship election on the grounds of significant non-compliance with the Electoral Law as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
While INEC is the first respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Obafemi Hamzat, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the APC, and the LP are the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth respondents, respectively.
In addition to failing to comply with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Jandor and the PDP claim in their petition that, at the time of the March 18, 2023 governorship election, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, and Rhodes-Vivour were ineligible to run.
As a result, the petitioners asked that all votes cast for them in the election be declared invalid.
The petition read in part, “The 2nd and 3rd Respondents, although not duly sponsored and not qualified, contested along with the 1st Petitioner and others for the office of Governor of Lagos State, the subject matter of this Petition.
“Similarly, the 5th and 6th Respondents, although not duly sponsored and not qualified, contested along with the 1st Petitioner and others for the office of Governor of Lagos State, the subject matter of this Petition.
“The 1st Respondent, upon the conclusion of the Election, declared the 2nd Respondent who was not properly sponsored by the 4th Respondent as the winner of the Election to the office of Governor of Lagos State.
“The 5th Respondent, who was similarly not properly sponsored by the 6th Respondent, was declared by the 1st Respondent as having scored the second highest number of votes at the Election to the office of Governor of Lagos State.”
The petitioners claimed that the petition was filed on four grounds of noncompliance, warranting the disqualification of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, who were declared the election winners by INEC.
Jandor and the PDP also stated that the petition raised four additional grounds for noncompliance, warranting the disqualification of Rhodes-Vivour, who was declared to have received the second-highest number of votes in the election.
The petitioners claimed that the APC did not follow the INEC Time Table and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, which stated that all political parties must give INEC 21 days’ notice before the primary election.
They added that such notice must come from the political party’s national office and be signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary.
The petition continued, “Contrary to this provision, the Lagos state chapter of the APC through her letter dated 24th May 2022 notified the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the party primary election held on 26th May 2022., with details of the venue of the said primary.
“The notification from the state chapter of APC was therefore invalid, null and void according to the Electoral Act 2022.”
Additionally, the petitioners claimed that the APC failed to comply with the Electoral Act 2022 requirement that every political party sponsoring a candidate in the general election submit the nomination form of such candidate(s) in Form EC9 no later than 180 days before the general election.
They also cited the omission of the Oath page in Form EC9 for the third respondent (Hamzat), which would have demonstrated that it was not endorsed by the Commissioner for Oath within the time prescribed by the Electoral Law 2022 and that without the Oath page, the entire Form EC9 and the information contained therein is worthless.
According to Adediran and the PDP, Sanwo-Olu failed to attach a copy of the GCE O’Level result he claimed to have obtained in 1981 to his Form EC9, as required by the Electoral Act of 2022.
“This development sparked a curiosity, with Adediran and PDP applying for the CTC of Governor Sanwo-Olu 2019 from CF001.
“It was then discovered that a Statement of Result issued by Ijebu Ife Community Grammar School, Ijebu-Ife for May/June 1981 GCE O’ Level Examination with examination number 17624/118 which he submitted for his first term election as governor of the state was not confirmed by WAEC.
“When JANDOR and PDP approached WAEC for confirmation, they were directed to purchase the scratch card for verification of WAEC result scratch card, which then confirmed the results as not emanating from WAEC, it came back to be a fake result,” the petition claimed.
Furthermore, the petitioners hinged the disqualification of the LP governorship candidate, Rhodes-Vivour, on his non-compliance of the party with the requirements of the Electoral Law in the conduct of the primary election that produced the candidate.
Adediran and PDP said that the notice of the primary election was issued by the state chapter of LP as against the provision that it must be issued and signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the party.
The petitioners added that the LP used Statutory Delegates who are members of the Lagos State EXCO/Caretaker Committee in the conduct of her substitution primary election on Aug. 10, 2022 contrary to the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.
The petitioners also established that Form EC9 for Rhodes-Vivour was signed under oath and submitted to INEC on the 4th of July 2022, exactly 37 days before the holding of the substitution primary election on Aug. 10, 2022, that produced him as the candidate of the Labour Party.
It further read, “This makes his nomination invalid. Furthermore, Rhodes-Vivour was still a member of PDP as of June 18, 2022, when he claimed, again under oath to having registered as a member of the Labour Party.
“Documentary evidence and newspaper report establishing his participation in the screening exercise for the running mate to the governorship candidate of the Lagos PDP, Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (JANDOR), on June 22, 2022, was provided in the petition.
“In line with the provision of the Electoral Act, the candidate for the office of Governor of Lagos State is not allowed to be a member of more than one political party at the time of being sponsored as a candidate for the general election, therefore his nomination is invalid.”
Adediran and PDP thus prayed the Election Petition Tribunal to declare all the votes cast for APC and Labour Party in the March 18 Guber election as wasted votes since their candidates were not qualified to have participated in the election.
The petitioners added that since PDP scored the third-highest number of votes in the election and having satisfied the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP was the validly qualified candidate to be returned as the winner of the said election.