Tribunal affirms Sanwo-Olu’s election, dismisses PDP, LP candidates’ petitions

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Ikeja, Lagos.

The Lagos State Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that  the three-man tribunal headed by Justice Arun Ashom held that Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy,  Dr Obafemi Hamzat were duly elected in the  March  18 gubernatorial election.

It delivered judgment in a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party Governorship Candidate for Lagos State,  Mr Abdulazeez  Adediran (a.k.a. Jandor), and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the  tribunal, in an 11-hour judgment, declared Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as the winner of the governorship election.

Determinating the petition of Rhodes-Vivour, Chairman of the tribunal, Ashom held that the petitioner focused on  one ground, which was that  Hamzat  took an oath of allegiance in the U.S. to renounce his Nigerian citizenship, rendering him ineligible to run for a political position in Nigeria.

The tribunal held that since Hamzat was a Nigerian citizen by birth, his American naturalisation did not  extinguish his rights to run for political office in Nigeria.

The  tribunal held that being a citizen of Nigeria by birth, his oath of alligiance  to U.S. did not prevent him from contesting election.

Ashom said: “As it is, the petition stands on only one ground, which is the deputy governor’s dual citizenship.

“However, the U.S. immigration lawyer, Mrs Olubusayo  Fasidi, under cross-examination, told the tribunal that she could not disclose the jurisdiction and date  the third  respondent, Hamzat, applied for naturalization because the information was protected by the Privacy Act of 1974.

“The tribunal hereby reject the testimony of the lawyer  as her testimony is being  misconceived.

“Consequently, the tribunal hereby affirm INEC’s declaration of  Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as the governor and deputy duly elected,” Ashom said.

Earlier, the  tribunal held  that  evidence  before it showed that the Adediran’s petition lacked merit and was dead on arrival.

Adediran had contended that Sanwo-Olu was wrongfully nominated and sponsored by his party, the All Progressives Party (APC) and, therefore, was not qualified for the election.

However, the tribunal held that the position did not form part of the grounds for disqualification for election into the office of a governor, under Sections 177 and 182 of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

The tribunal also declared that it had no powers to inquire into the primary election of the APC which produced Sanwo-Olu, adding that the issue was a pre-election matter which did not fall under its jurisdiction.

“Only an aspirant or member of a political party can complain about the outcome of the party’s primary election, not a busybody like the petitioner,” it held.

According to the tribunal, Adediran failed to discharge the burden of proof imposed on him by the Electoral Act.

NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Sanwo-Olu  the  winner of the governorship election.

Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to beat Rhodes-Vivour who scored 312,329 votes while  Jandor  came third  with 62,449 votes.

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