The Court of Appeal in Lagos State is set to announce its verdict today on the appeals filed by the governorship candidates of the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the second term election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The appeals were filed by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party and Abdulazeez Olajide Adediran of the PDP.
A notice from the court has confirmed that the judgment will be delivered at 3 pm today.
The panel of judges at the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Yargata Nimpar, had reserved judgment on the appeals after hearing arguments from the parties involved. The other justices on the panel are Justice Samuel Bola and Justice Paul Bassi.
The Election Petitions Tribunal had previously upheld Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat as winners of the election in a unanimous decision on September 25. However, both Rhodes-Vivour and Adediran decided to challenge this decision in their appeals.
Petitions held against Sanwo-Olu in the election
During the hearing of the appeals on November 7, Rhodes-Vivour’s lead counsel, Olagbade Benson, urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the tribunal’s decision. He also requested that the court interpret Section 182 (1) (a) of the Constitution and its implications for the qualification of the governor and deputy governor.
Rhodes-Vivour’s appeal contained several grounds, including allegations that the tribunal erred in law when it relied on a previous court decision to strike out the evidence of his subpoenaed witnesses. He also argued that the tribunal had failed to disqualify Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy due to their alleged dual citizenship.
In response, Chief Wole Olanipekun, the counsel for Governor Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, urged the court to dismiss the appeal, stating that the dual citizenship argument was not presented before the tribunal after the election.
Meanwhile, the PDP’s candidate, Abdulazeez Olajide Adediran, also filed an appeal against the tribunal’s decision, challenging the victory of Governor Sanwo-Olu. Adediran argued that the issue of disqualification of a winner in an election is both a pre and post-election dispute and criticized the tribunal for treating it as merely a pre-election issue.
He also reiterated his request for the disqualification of both the APC and Labour Party candidates and raised concerns about the governor’s tertiary qualifications, alleging that they were built on false Level WAEC certificates.
The Court of Appeal’s judgment today will determine the outcome of these appeals and potentially have significant implications for the political landscape in Lagos State.
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