Update Post: November 28, 2023 9:33 am
The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has affirmed the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and dismissed the petition of the Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, who challenged the return of Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
Justice Mikhail Abdullahi held that Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Hamzat, were qualified to contest the March 18, 2023, governorship election in the state under section 177 of the Constitution.
The judge noted that they are members of political parties and educated up to school certificate level.
Section 177 of the constitution stipulated that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”
“We have considered the evidence before this court. He has the highest number of votes. This petition is dead on arrival.”
“Given the evidence adduced before the court, the grounds on which the petitioner is seeking disqualification of 2nd and 3rd respondents lack merit.
“I have found Gov Sanwo-Olu and deputy, Dr Hamzat duly elected and therefore declared them winner.”
However, justice Arum Ashom and Justice Igho Braimoh aligned with the judgment
Earlier, the Tribunal had struck out the application of Jandor, who was seeking a disqualification of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s candidature.
Jandor had argued in his motion, alongside his formal petition in which he challenged the return of Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Obafemi Hamzat in the March 18, 2023 governorship elections in Lagos State.
The petitioner had contended that Mr Sanwo-Olu was not qualified to be elected, and therefore wrongfully nominated and sponsored by his party, the All Progressives Party.
He had replied to section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act of 2022 which deals with grounds for instituting an electoral petition.
But, Justice Abdullahi, while reading the Tribunal’s decision on the matter, held that this position didn’t form part of the grounds for disqualification for election into the office of Governor, under sections 177 and 182 of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended).
The tribunal also declared that it has no powers to inquire into the primary election of the APC which produced Sanwo-Olu, saying it is a pre-election matter which doesn’t fall under its jurisdiction.
“Only an aspirant or member of a political party can complain about the outcome of the party’s primary, not a busybody like the petitioner.”
This ruling forms part of the judgment being delivered in Jandor’s petition.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Arum Ashom, earlier on Monday, announced that judgment over the petition of the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour will be delivered afterwards.
The third judge on the panel is Justice Igho Braimoh.
The tribunal also struck out the names of the Labour Party and its candidate among the list of respondents, saying 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 also expunged from its records all exhibits tendered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour and the LP in Jandor’s petition, adding that they cannot subsequently go on to challenge any part of the judgment in Jandor’s petition or else will become a meddlesome interloper.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress winner of the governorship election.
He polled 762,134 votes to beat Mr Rhodes-Vivour, who scored 312,329 votes. Jide Adediran came a distant third, polling 62,449 votes.