Lagos tribunal dismisses Rhodes-Vivour’s petition against Sanwo-Olu, APC

The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal, on Monday, struck out the names of the 5th respondent, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and his party, Labour Party, LP (the 6th respondent) from the petition filed by the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as ‘Jandor’.

Jandor’s petition is challenging the victory of Sanwo-Olu at the March 18, 2023, governorship election.
Meanwhile, the Tribunal also dismissed the preliminary objection of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which asked it to dismiss PDP’s petition.

The Tribunal dismissed the preliminary objection because the petitioner did not comply with provisions of the Electoral Act about payment of security as to cost.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Sanwo-Olu of APC winner of the March 18 governorship election.

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to beat Rhodes-Vivour, who scored 312,329 votes. Jide Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP came a distant third, polling 62,449 votes.

Today, Monday, shortly after the announcement of appearances by all lawyers and parties in the case, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Arum Ashom announced that the court will first deliver judgment in the case of the PDP and its candidate before giving its judgment in the petition of the governorship candidate of LP, Rhodes-Vivour.

Justice Ashom also yielded the floor to his brother-judge, Justice Mikail Abdullahi, to read the judgment on behalf of the panel.

The third judge on the panel is Justice Igho Braimoh

In its judgment on Jandor’s petition, the tribunal first dwelt on the preliminary objections filed by the parties.

The first objection taken was whether the 3rd respondent, the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat, is a separate and distinct candidate from the 2nd respondent, Babajide SanwoOlu-Olu.

The tribunal was also asked to determine whether the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition.

The Tribunal noted that this issue had been decided in a number of cases and went on to hold that a deputy governor and governor are not separate candidates and they are not required to pay separate security deposit.

In the second objection, the tribunal was asked to decide whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition.

Jandor had joined the candidate of the Labour Party, Rhodes-Vivour as a respondent in his petition.

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 persons who lost.

The tribunal, therefore, upheld the preliminary objection and subsequently struck out the name of the 5th respondent, Rhodes-Vivour from the petition filed by Jandor.

The tribunal also expunged from its records all exhibits tendered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour in the petition filed by Jandor.

The tribunal went on to hold 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

In a similar vein, the Tribunal held that the 6th respondent, 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 was also expunged from the tribunal’s records.

The Tribunal, however, disagreed with the objections made by the APC and its candidate that the misjoinder of the LP and its candidate was a ground for striking out the petition.

The tribunal held: “That the 5th and 6th respondents ought not have been made respondents to the petition cannot rob the tribunal of the jurisdiction to hear the parties.

“The question of a 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 has been found to be improperly joined, is also ordered to be struck out.”

Hearing of the judgment is still underway as of press time.


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