The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has struck out the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, from the petition filed by Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Jandor is challenging the outcome of the Saturday, March 18 governorship election, which resulted in the return of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat as governor and deputy governor of Lagos State, respectively.
The announcement came during the tribunal’s proceedings on Monday, where the chairman, Justice Arum Ashom, declared that the tribunal would deliver judgment in the case of the PDP and its candidate before addressing the petition filed by Rhodes-Vivour.
Justice Ashom, presiding over the tribunal alongside Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh, ceded the floor to Justice Abdullahi to read the tribunal’s judgement on the preliminary objections raised by the parties involved in the case.
The first objection was centred on whether the Deputy Governor of Lagos should be considered a separate and distinct candidate from Governor Sanwo-Olu.
The tribunal was also asked to determine if the deputy governor could be listed as a respondent in the petition.
However, the tribunal ruled that a deputy governor and a governor are not separate candidates and therefore cannot be listed as respondents in the petition and should not be required to pay a separate security deposit.
The second objection addressed whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition. Jandor had included the Labour Party’s candidate, Rhodes-Vivour, as a respondent in his petition.
The tribunal concurred that a petition is intended to be filed between the winner and the loser of an election, not between two individuals who both lost.
As a result, the tribunal upheld the preliminary objection and removed the name of Rhodes-Vivour as the 5th respondent from Jandor’s petition.
All exhibits tendered in evidence by Rhodes-Vivour in the petition were also expunged from the tribunal’s records. The tribunal clarified that Rhodes-Vivour cannot later challenge any part of Jandor’s petition judgement or risk becoming a meddlesome interloper.
Similarly, the tribunal held that the Labour Party, the 6th respondent, should not have been made a respondent in Jandor and the PDP’s petition. The party’s name was subsequently struck out for improper inclusion, and all evidence and exhibits related to the party were expunged from the tribunal’s records.
However, the tribunal disagreed with objections raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, arguing that the misjoinder of the Labour Party and its candidate was grounds for striking out the petition.
“That the 5th & 6th respondent ought not to have been made respondents to the petition cannot rob the tribunal of the jurisdiction to hear the parties. The question of misjoinder cannot lead to a striking out of the petition as the proper order to make is to strike out the names of the parties,” the tribunal held.
“Already the name of the 5th respondent has been struck out and the 6th respondent, who has been found to be improperly joined is also ordered to be struck out”. – Guardian.