The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has begun delivering its judgment in the petition filed by the Governorship Candidate of the PDP, Olajide Adediran popularly known as Jandor challenging the return of Babjide SanwoOlu and Obafemi Hamzat in the March 18 governorship elections in Lagos State.
Shortly after the announcement of appearances by all lawyers & parties in the case, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Arum Ashom announced that the court would first deliver judgment in the case of the PDP & its candidate before giving its judgment in the petition of the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
Justice Ashom also yielded the floor to his brother judge, Justice Mikail Abdullahi to read the judgment on behalf of the panel.
The third judge on the panel is Justice Igho Braimoh.
In its judgment on the petition of Jandor, the tribunal first dwelt on the preliminary objections filed by the parties.
The first objection taken is whether the 3rd Respondent, the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat is a separate and distinct candidate from the 2nd respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu-Olu. The tribunal was also asked to determine whether the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition.
The Tribunal noted that this issue has been decided in several cases and went on to hold that a deputy governor and governor are not separate candidates and they are not required to pay a separate security deposit.
In the second objection, the tribunal was asked to decide whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition.
Jandor had joined the Candidate of the Labour Party, Rhodes-Vivour as a respondent in his petition. Citing a list of decided cases, the tribunal agreed that 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 therefore upheld the prelim objection and subsequently struck out the name of the 5th respondent, Rhodes-Vivour from the petition filed by Jandor. The tribunal also expunged from its records all exhibits tendered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour in the petition filed by Jandor.
The tribunal went on to hold that Rhodes-Vivour cannot subsequently go on to challenge any part of the judgment of the Jandor’s petition or else he becomes a meddlesome interloper.
In a similar vein, the Tribunal held that the 6th respondent, the Labour Party, ought not to have made a respondent in Jandor & the PDP’s petition. The name of the party was subsequently struck out for being improperly joined. All evidence and exhibits concerning the party were also expunged from the tribunal’s records.
The Tribunal however disagreed with the objections made by the APC & its candidate that the Mis joinder of the LP & its candidate was a ground for striking out the petition.
The tribunal held, “That the 5th & 6th respondent ought not to have been made respondents to the petition cannot rob the tribunal of the jurisdiction to hear the parties. The question of misjoinder cannot lead to a striking out of the petition as the proper order to make is to strike out the names of the parties”.
“Already the name of the 5th respondent has been struck out and the 6th respondent who is improperly joined is also ordered to be struck out”.
Hearing of the judgment is still underway.