Hamzat in court for Lagos governorship election appeal

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The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, arrived at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Tuesday, for the hearing of appeals challenging the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which affirmed the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Election Petitions Tribunal had on September 25, 2023, upheld the re-election of Sanwo-Olu and his deputy as the duly elected governor of the state.

The three-man panel, in its unanimous decision, dismissed the two petitions filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its governorship candidate Olajide Adediran, and that of the Labour Party, and its governorship candidate, Rhodes-Vivour.

Addressing the PDP’s petition, the tribunal, in its judgement read by Justice Mikail Abdullahi on behalf of the three-man panel held that the petition of the PDp and its governorship candidate, Adediran, lacked merit, and the same was dismissed accordingly.

“I affirm the election and return of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected governor of Lagos state.”

The tribunal entertained the question of whether it had the competence and jurisdiction to hear the petition. Justice Abdullahi answered this question in the affirmative and held that this issue had already been resolved at the preliminary objection stage.

The second issue for the tribunal’s determination was whether Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat were validly nominated by their party All Progressives Congress to contest the polls.

The tribunal cited relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act and a plethora of decided cases to the effect that this was a pre-election issue that did not relate to the conduct of the polls being challenged.

The tribunal also held that the petitioners are not members of the 4th respondent, the APC, and therefore have no locus to challenge the primaries of the party that produced both men.