The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has dismissed the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, from his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Olajide Adediran, commonly known as Jandor,’s appeal challenging the 2016 governorship election.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Arum Ashom, announced shortly after the announcement of appearances by all lawyers and parties in the case at Monday’s proceeding that the court would first deliver judgement in the case of the PDP & its candidate before giving its judgement in the petition of the Labour Party’s governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The Tribunal dismissed the preliminary objection because the petitioner failed to comply with Electoral Act regulations requiring the deposit of security as to cost.
Sanwo-Olu received 762,134 votes versus Rhodes-Vivour’s 312,329 votes. Jide Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP finished third with 62,449 votes.
In its decision, read by Justice Abdullahi, the tribunal first addressed the parties’ preliminary objections.
The first argument raised is whether the third respondent, Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor of Lagos, is a different and distinct candidate from the second respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. In addition, the tribunal was requested to rule on whether the deputy governor may be included as a respondent in the case.
The panel agreed, citing a series of previous decisions, that a petition should be filed between the winner and loser of an election, not between two people who lost.
As a result, the tribunal upheld the preliminary objection and later wiped out the name of the 5th respondent, Rhodes-Vivour, from Jandor’s petition.
The tribunal likewise removed from its records all exhibits offered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour in Jandor’s petition.
The panel went on to rule that Rhodes-Vivour cannot later appeal any element of the Jandor’s petition judgement or he would be considered a meddling invader.
Similarly, the Tribunal ruled that the 6th respondent, Labour Party, should not have been named as a respondent in Jandor and the PDP’s case.
The name of the party was afterwards wiped out for being incorrectly joined. All evidence and exhibits relating to the party were likewise removed from the tribunal’s records.
The Tribunal, on the other hand, rejected the APC and its candidate’s contention that the misjoinder of the LP and its candidate constituted grounds for dismissing the petition.
“That the 5th and 6th respondents should not have been made respondents to the petition cannot deprive the tribunal of jurisdiction to hear the parties,” the decision said.
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 has been found to be improperly joined is also ordered to be struck out”.