The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment for two separate appeals filed by the governorship candidates of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, Gbadebo-Rhodes Vivour, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Azeez Adediran.
The appeals challenge the March 18, 2023, governorship election, which the Election Petitions Tribunal upheld, resulting in the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
After hearing the appeals, a three-man panel headed by Justice Yargata Nimpar reserved judgment and took arguments from the parties. Other Justices of the panel include Justice Samuel Bola and Justice Paul Bassi. The judges said they would communicate the judgment’s date to the parties in the appeal.
During the proceedings, Mr Olagbade Benson, the lead counsel for the Labour Party, prayed the court to allow the appeal, set aside the decision of the tribunal, and grant the reliefs sought therein. He also requested the court to interpret Section 182 (1) (a) of the Constitution and its implication on the qualification of the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
Rhodes Vivour, the LP candidate, challenged the tribunal’s decision in his 21 grounds notice of appeal dated October 7, 2023. He sought to overturn the decision that upheld the return of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The PDP candidate, Azeez Adediran, filed 34 grounds of appeal against the judgment of the tribunal in his notice of appeal dated October 13, 2023. He described the judgment of the lower court as a miscarriage of law and prayed the court to set it aside.
In response, counsel for Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN), submitted that the reliefs sought by the appellants are such that they must succeed on the strength of their petition and not on the weakness of the respondent’s defence. He argued that the appellants did not prove anything before the lower tribunal, and no burden shifted to the respondents to disprove any fact.
Meanwhile, the PDP claimed that its candidate for the 2023 governorship election, Adediran, was the only candidate who met the constitutional requirement to stand for the March 18 governorship election. The party also claimed that the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party were not qualified to contest the election due to constitutional breaches.