Barristers & Solicitors
Election Tribunal Dismisses APM, APP Petitions against Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal yesterday dismissed the petitions filed by the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) and the APP against the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.

Other respondents to the two petitions were Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Chairman of the 3-man Tribunal, Justice Arum Igyem Ashom, dismissed the petition following its withdrawal by the parties.

Other members of the Tribunal were Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho P. Braimoh.

Lawyers to the two parties, Henry Bello and Francis Ese, told the Tribunal that their client had decided to do away with the petitions.

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat Rhodes-Vivour, his closest rival, who scored 312,329, while Adediran, who came third, garnered 62,449 votes.

The candidate of APM, Funmilayo Kupoluyi scored 884 while the candidate of APP Abiola Adeyemi 259, according to results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The parties had argued in their separate petitions that Sanwo-Olu and his deputy were not qualified to contest the election and that INEC failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.

When the case was called, the lawyer to APM, Bello informed the Tribunal that the motion for withdrawal was predicated on four grounds supported by two affidavits sworn to by Yusuf Mamman Dantalle, the party’s National Chairman.

He said, “Our candidate has lost interest in the petition and has proceeded to congratulate the second respondent. We urge the petition to strike out this application.”

Addressing the court, counsel to APP told the Tribunal that he had the directive of the Chairman of the party, Chief Okey Nwosu, to withdraw the petition.

In his response, John Baiyeshe, who represented INEC in the APM petition, did not oppose the motion but asked the court to dismiss it and not strike it out, because parties have joined issues.

While counsel to Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Ayuba Kawu and that of the APC, Abiodun Owonikoko, did not oppose the motions for withdrawal; they also aligned themselves with Baiyeshe’s argument that the petition be dismissed.

“We have no objection to the application and no agreement or undertaking about withdrawing of the petition. We align that the appropriate order to make is a dismissal

Owonikoko also submitted that it was trite law that where pleadings had been joined, the appropriate order was dismissal. In his ruling, Justice Ashom held, “The sum effect of what the petitioners said is that the petition is withdrawn. The respondents have filed an affidavit of non-collision and did not object.

“Considering the level at which the petition is and that pleadings have been closed, we order that the petition be dismissed,” he held.