Appeal Court Reserves Judgement On Lagos Governorship Election

The Court of Appeal in Lagos on Tuesday reserved ruling in the appeal filed by the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) against the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and Abdulazeez Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, of the PDP, are challenging the 25 September ruling of the election tribunal which upheld the Mr Sanwo-Olu’s victory at the18 March 18 governorship election.

At the hearing of the appeal on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal panel led by Yargata Nimpar, reserved judgement after listening to the argument of the parties.

The court said the date for judgement would be communicated to the parties.

Earlier, Labour Party counsel, Benson Olagbade, urged the court to grant his clients’ appeal and set aside the decision of the tribunal.

According to him, the tribunal erred in law when it held that the burden of proof of specific oath of allegiance subscribed to by Mr Sanwo-Olu’s running mate and Lagos State deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, as well as the evidence of his renounced citizenship rested on the appellant.

He urged the court to interpret section 182 (1) (a) of the Constitution regarding the disqualification of Mr Sanwo-Olu and his deputy.

“We invite this court to give full interpretation of the law to this matter.

“It does not matter whose ox is gored,” Mr Olagbade said.

Responding, Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), counsel for Mr Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Mr Hamzat, urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

He said the dual citizenship argued by the appellant was never brought before the tribunal.

“They are now presenting a case of dual-citizenship, they believe that this is a trial court.

“The tribunal found out that the purported oath of allegiance to a foreign country was not before it so it ruled it out.

“We urge your Lordship to dismiss this appeal,” Mr Olanipekun said.

In the second case, PDP, filed its own appeal asking for disqualification of Mr Sanwo-Olu’s re-election.

He also faulted the tribunal for striking out his petition against Rhodes-Vivour, the candidate of the Labour Party in the election.

Mr Adediran and his political party (PDP) reiterated that their petitions, asking for the disqualification of APC and Labour Party candidates, were premised on the provision of Section 177(c) and 182(1)(j) of the constitution.

He said the Sections were constitutional grounds for qualification and disqualification for the office of Governor in Nigeria and supported by section 134(1) and 134(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The counsel of Mr Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Mr Olanipekun submitted that the prayers sought by the appellants were such that they must succeed on the strength of their petition and not on the weakness of the respondents.

He argued that the appellants did not prove anything before the lower tribunal and no burden shifted to the respondents to disprove any fact.

“In the instant case, the petitioner tendered the alleged false document (Exhibit P36) from the bar, the petitioners could not produce before the court the original document from which exhibit P36 was counterfeit.

“It is trite law that where oral evidence and documentary evidence tendered by a party in proof of a fact says different, that party cannot be said to have led credible and cogent evidence in proof of that fact,” Mr Olanipekun argued.