Tribunal dismisses LP’s petition, reaffirms Sanwo-Olu as governor
APC says victory a judicial vindication
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lagos State yesterday dismissed a petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and re-affirmed Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the duly-elected governor of Lagos State.
The tribunal described the petition as a “futile and wasteful exercise,” noting that the petitioners (LP and Ifagbemi Awamaridi, its governorship candidate in the election) could not prove their allegation of mental incompetence against Sanwo-Olu in their evidence.
The three-man panel of judges, led by Justice T. T. Asua, in its three-hour judgment, held that the petitioners also failed to prove their allegation of election malpractices against Sanwo-Olu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It, therefore, held that its earlier decision to dismiss the petition, which was later appealed by the petitioners, was still valid because the petition was not filed according to the laws governing the electoral laws.
“The petitioners have failed to meet the requirement of the law. The petitioners have failed in our humble view to discharge the onus of proof, which would have been placed on the respondents. We confirm the return of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the duly-elected governor of the state,” the tribunal ruled.
The tribunal had earlier struck out the names of the fourth to seventh respondents (the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Lagos State INEC, Returning Officer for Lagos State Governorship Election, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State and the Nigerian Army).
It held that from evidence adduced, there were no ties linking them to the allegations contained in the petition.
The tribunal said the petitioners could not prove their allegations, which were contained in paragraphs 19 and 20 of the petition.
“No scintilla of evidence was presented to prove the assertion that the second respondent was of unsound mental health. No newspaper evidence and medical evidence from the Gbagada General Hospital was presented at the tribunal.
“PW5 openly stated in court that ‘the evidence does not exist.” That portion of the petition remains abandoned, and I so hold,” Justice Asua said.
However, the Lagos State Chapter of the APC has described the victory of Sanwo-Olu as a re-affirmation that he got the mandate of the people in the election.
In a statement yesterday, Assistant Publicity Secretary of the party, Abiodun Salami, said the victory was a judicial vindication of the belief Lagosians have in the governor to move the state forward.