Sanwo-Olu Wins Labour Party, AD At Election Tribunal

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An election petition tribunal, sitting at Ikeja, has dismissed a petition filed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the Labour Party (LP) challenging the victory of the governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the March 9 gubernatorial poll.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Sanwo-Olu, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the INEC Residential Electoral Commissioner were listed as respondents to the petitions.

Other respondents are the returning officer for the Lagos State governorship election, the commissioner of police and the Nigerian Army.

Justice T. T Asua, the chairman of the tribunal, dismissed the petitions due to the inability of the petitioners to file applications for pre-hearing conference after the close of pleadings within seven days as prescribed by law.

The three-man panel noted that timely application for pre-hearing conference was a condition to the hearing of the petitions and without the application for pre-hearing conferences, the petition cannot commence or get to the stage of judgment.

The panel noted that Section 285(4) of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution was inapplicable because the timely application for pre-hearing conferences was a precondition in election petition matters.

Dismissing the petitions, Justice Asua said the inability to serve any of the respondents was not an excuse and that the consequence of failure to apply timely for pre-hearing conference was the dismissal of such a petition.

AD, its gubernatorial candidate Owolabi Salis, and LP alongside Ifagbemi Awamaridi, its gubernatorial candidate, had in their petitions challenged Mr Sanwo-Olu’s victory on the grounds that he is not competent to run as a gubernatorial candidate in the election.

The petitioners said the March 9 polls was marred by violence, voting irregularities and that Mr Sanwo-Olu could not vote or be voted for as he had no valid voters.

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