The Lagos Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Monday, struck out the petition filed by the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, challenging the Sanwo-Olu’s victory at the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The tribunal also threw away the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, and its candidate, AbdulAzeez Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor.
Like his LP counterpart, Jandor is challenging the return of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat in the March 18 governorship election in Lagos State.
However, shortly after the announcement of appearances by all lawyers and parties involved in the case at Monday’s proceeding, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Arum Ashom, announced that the court would first deliver judgment in the case of the PDP and its candidate before giving its judgment in the petition of the governorship candidate of the LP.
Justice Ashom also delivered the floor to his brother judge, Justice Mikail Abdullahi to read the judgment on behalf of the panel.
However, The third judge on the panel is Justice Igho Braimoh.
The tribunal of a three-man panel of justices in its judgment read by Justice Abdullahi, first dwelt on the preliminary objections filed by the parties.
The first objection taken during the proceeding was whether the 3rd Respondent, the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat is a separate and distinct candidate from the 2nd respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The court was also asked to determine whether the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition.
The Tribunal however noted that this issue has been decided in several cases and proceeded on to hold that a deputy governor and governor are not separate candidates, noting that they are not required to pay a separate security deposit.
The tribunal was asked in the second objection, to decide whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition.
The PDP candidate had joined the Candidate of the Labour Party, as a respondent in his petition.
Meanwhile, Citing a list of decided cases, the tribunal agreed that a petition is contemplated to be filed between the winner and the loser of an election and not between two contestants, who lost.
The tribunal, however, upheld the preliminary objection and subsequently struck out the name of the 5th respondent, Rhodes-Vivour from the petition filed by Jandor.
It also deleted from its records, all exhibits tendered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour in the petition filed by Jandor.
The tribunal further held that Rhodes-Vivour cannot subsequently go on to challenge any part of the judgment of the Jandor’s petition or else he becomes a meddlesome interloper.
Similarly, the Tribunal held that the 6th respondent, the Labour Party ought not to have made a respondent in Jandor and the PDP’s petition. The name of the party was subsequently struck out for being improperly joined. All evidence and exhibits concerning the party were also expunged from the tribunal’s records.
It however disagreed with the objections made by the APC and its candidate that the Mis joinder of the LP & its candidate was a ground for striking out the petition.
The tribunal held, “That the 5th & 6th respondent ought not to have been made respondents to the petition cannot rob the tribunal of the jurisdiction to hear the parties. The question of misjoinder cannot lead to a striking out of the petition as the proper order to make is to strike out the names of the parties.
“Already the name of the 5th respondent has been struck out and the 6th respondent who is improperly joined is also ordered to be struck out.”
However, a hearing of the judgment is still underway as of the time of filing this report.