Appeal Court orders Lagos tribunal to hear AD, LP petitions against Sanwo-Olu
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has ordered the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to resume hearing of two petitions filed by candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Owolabi Salis and his Labour Party counterpart, Ifagbemi Awamaridi.
They had challenged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s victory in the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial election and subsequently dismissed by the Election Petition Tribunal.
However, while ruling on their appeals yesterday, the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Hussein Mukthar, in a unanimous decision, allowed the two appeals filed by the defeated candidates.
Other members of the panel are, justices O. O. Daniel Kalio, O. F. Ogbuinya, Stephen Adah and B. B. Aliyu.
The appeal court in its similar judgments upturned the June 17, 2019 decision of the tribunal, which dismissed Owolabi’s and Awamaridi’s petitions on the ground that they failed to file applications for pre-hearing conference within seven days as prescribed by law.
Therefore, the court held that the tribunal erred when it ruled that the appellants abandoned their petitions just as it further held that the it failed to check its own record of proceedings before determining that the petitioners filed their appeals out of time.
Justice Daniel-Kalio, who read the lead judgment on Owolabi’s appeal held and other justices concurred, adding: “From the record, it is clear that the tribunal was wrong to have declared the petition as abandoned. The case is to be referred to the lower court for expeditious hearing of the matter.”
The ruling on Awamaridi’s appeal was read by Justice Ogbuinya and approved by the other members of the panel.
The respondents in the suit were, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sanwo-Olu, All Progressives Congress (APC), Residential Electoral Commissioner (REC), Returning Officer, Commissioner of Police (CP) and the Army.
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