The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in Lagos State, Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), have submitted a petition before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal of Lagos State.
The party and Mr Adediran are calling for the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) candidates in the election for non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
In the petition marked EPT/LAG/GOV/01/2023 dated April 7, the petitioners challenged the outcome of the 18 March governorship election on the grounds of substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Law as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While INEC is the 1st respondent, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy Governorship candidate, Obafemi Hamzat; the All Progressive Congress (APC), the Labour Party Governorship Candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and the Labour Party respectively are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th respondents.
Besides non-compliance with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Mr Adediran and PDP in their petition are claiming that at the time of the governorship election held on 18 March 2023, Messrs Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, and Rhodes-Vivour were not qualified to contest the election.
The petitioners, therefore, prayed that all votes cast for them in the election be declared wasted.
“The 2nd and 3rd Respondents, although not duly sponsored and not qualified, contested along with the 1st Petitioner and others for the office of Governor of Lagos State, the subject matter of this Petition.
“Similarly, the 5th and 6th Respondents, although not duly sponsored and not qualified, contested along with the 1st Petitioner and others for the office of Governor of Lagos State, the subject matter of this Petition.
“The 1st Respondent, upon the conclusion of the Election, declared the 2nd Respondent who was not properly sponsored by the 4th Respondent as the winner of the Election to the office of Governor of Lagos State.
“The 5th Respondent who was similarly not properly sponsored by the 6th Respondent was declared by the 1st Respondent as having scored the second highest number of votes at the Election to the office of Governor of Lagos State,” the petition reads in part.
The petitioners said that the petition bothered on four grounds of non-compliance warranting disqualification of Messrs Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat declared as the winner of the election by INEC.
Mr Adediran and the PDP added that the petition also bothered on another four grounds of non-compliance warranting disqualification of Mr Rhodes-Vivour who was declared to have scored the second-highest number of votes in the election.
The petitioners said that APC did not comply with the INEC Time Table and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election which stipulated that all political parties must give 21 days’ notice to INEC before the conduct of the primary election.
They added that such notice must emanate from the national office of the political party and be signed by its National Chairman and National Secretary.
“Contrary to this provision, the Lagos state chapter of the APC through her letter dated 24th May 2022 notified the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the party primary election held on 26th May 2022., with details of venue of the said primary.
“The notification from the state chapter of APC was therefore invalid, null and void according to the Electoral Act 2022,” it read in part.
The petitioners added that the APC also failed to comply with the requirement of the Electoral Act 2022 that every political party sponsoring a candidate in the general election shall submit the nomination form of such candidate(s) not later than 180 days before the conduct of the general election in forms EC9.
The petitioners also cited the omission of the Oath page in Form EC9 for the 3rd respondent, (Hamzat), which would have shown that it was not endorsed by the Commissioner for Oath within the time prescribed by the Electoral Law 2022 and without the oath page, the entire form EC9 and the information therein are worthless.
Mr Adediran and PDP added that Mr Sanwo-Olu failed to attach a copy of the GCE O’Level result he claimed to have sat for in 1981 along with his form EC9 as required by the Electoral Act 2022.
The petition read in part: “This development sparked a curiosity, with Adediran and PDP applying for the CTC of Governor Sanwo-Olu 2019 from CF001.
“It was then discovered that a Statement of Result issued by Ijebu Ife Community Grammar School, Ijebu-Ife for May/June 1981 GCE O’ Level Examination with examination number 17624/118 which he submitted for his first term election as governor of the state was not confirmed by WAEC.
“When JANDOR and PDP approached WAEC for confirmation, they were directed to purchase the scratch card for verification of WAEC result scratch card, which then confirmed the results as not emanating from WAEC, it came back to be a fake result.”
The petitioners also hinged the disqualification of the governorship candidate of LP’s Rhodes-Vivour on his non-compliance of the party with the requirements of the Electoral Law in the conduct of the primary election that produced the candidate.
Mr Adediran and PDP said that the notice of the primary election was issued by the state chapter of LP as against the provision that it must be issued and signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the party.
The petitioners added that the LP used Statutory Delegates who are members of the Lagos State EXCO/Caretaker Committee in the conduct of her substitution primary election on Aug. 10, 2022 contrary to the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.
The petitioners also said that Form EC9 for Rhodes-Vivour was signed under oath and submitted to INEC on the 4th of July 2022, exactly 37 days before the holding of the substitution primary election on Aug. 10, 2022, that produced him as the candidate of the Labour Party.
It further read: “This makes his nomination invalid. Furthermore, Rhodes-Vivour was still a member of PDP as of June 18, 2022 when he claimed, again under oath to having registered as a member of the Labour Party.
“Documentary evidence and newspaper report establishing his participation in the screening exercise for the running mate to the governorship candidate of the Lagos PDP, Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (JANDOR), on June 22, 2022, was provided in the petition.
“In line with the provision of the Electoral Act, the candidate for the office of Governor of Lagos State is not allowed to be a member of more than one political party at the time of being sponsored as a candidate for the general election, therefore his nomination is invalid.”
Mr Adediran and PDP thus prayed the Election Petition Tribunal to declare all the votes cast for APC and Labour Party in the 18 March governorship election as wasted votes since their candidates were not qualified to have participated in the election.
The petitioners added that since PDP scored the third-highest number of votes in the election and having satisfied the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP was the validly qualified candidate to be returned as the winner of the said election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Sanwo-Olu defeated 15 other contestants from various parties to emerge as the winner of the election.
Mr Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival of the Labour Party, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who scored 312,329 votes in the election.
The PDP candidate, Mr Adediran, garnered 62,449 votes to come third in the poll.
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