The National/State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Ikeja has upheld the election of Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected Senator for Lagos Central Senatorial District.
The tribunal, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP)’s Abiodun Dabiri.
It agreed with Eshilokun-Sanni’s counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu (SAN) that Dabiri’s petition was without merit.
Dabiri and the LP filed the petition marked EPT/LAG/SEN/02/2023 on March 16 2023 as 1st and 2nd petitioners while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Eshilokun-Sanni and the APC were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents.
The petitioners through their counsel Ikechukwu Uwanna faulted INEC’s declaration of Eshilokun-Sanni as the winner of the Lagos Central Senatorial District Election held on February 25, 2023.
They raised a sole ground of protest claiming that the election of February 25 was invalid for non-compliance with the Electoral Act because INEC failed to include the LP symbol or other information relating to LP on the ballot papers used for the conduct of the said election.
Dabiri and the LP prayed to the tribunal to, among others, order INEC to cancel the February 25 election and conduct a fresh election to accommodate its candidate whose logo was absent on the ballot paper.
But Eshilokun-Sanni filed a Preliminary Objection dated May 8, 2023, for an Order striking out and/or dismissing the petition for being incompetent and also another Notice of Preliminary Objection of May 18, for an order striking out the Petitioner’s Reply of May 12 and filed on May 13, 2023.
Shittu raised three grounds for the first application. They are that Dabiri had no locus standi to present the election petition for not being a candidate in the February 25 election.
Secondly, Dabiri was not entitled to present this Petition for failure to comply with Section 133(1)(a) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Thirdly, that the ground upon which the petition was predicated related to the sponsorship and nomination of candidates which was a pre-election matter and therefore invalid and unknown to the Electoral Act 2022.
The second application of May 18 was premised “on the fact that the Petitioners’ reply was an attempt to enlarge the petition, contrary to paragraphs 14 (2)(a) and 16(1)(a) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2022.
“Paragraph 16(1(a) prohibits the Petitioners from enlarging or amending their petition by the use of their reply.”