Appeal Court Dismisses PDP Candidate’s Appeal, Affirms Sanwo-Olu’s Victory

The State and National Election Appeal Court, sitting in Lagos on Wednesday, rendered a decision on the appeal filed by the candidate of the People Democratic Party, Dr. Olajide Azeez Adediran, and his party against Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, challenging the governorship election held on March 18, 2023.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the Tribunal, which was delivered on September 25, 2023, declaring Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Hamzat, as the duly elected governor and deputy of the state.

The three-man panel, headed by Justice Yargata Nimpar, with Justice Samuel Bola and Justice Paul Bassi as members, reached a unanimous decision, holding that the appeal failed in its entirety and is hereby dismissed. The Court of Appeal’s decision solidifies the previous ruling, confirming the victory of Governor Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Hamzat in the mentioned election.

While deli the judgment, the court held that the appellan failed to prove his appeal and failed to file within the stipulated time required by the electoral act. In view of the paragraph 6 of the Electoral Act which stipulated 14 days to file. It is important to know that there is no extension of time. It is clear that the ruling of the tribunal which is the part of the judgment is right.

” It is clear from the citation that the appellant failed. To he 180 days stimulated by by law has since expired and lapsed. The court therefore lack jurisdiction. The court cannot do any surgical operation for been incompetent, Court therefore has no jurisdiction.”

The court also held that there was repetition of some paragraph in his petition. “It is settle that even in the normal proceeding, there is  rule. It is wrong for the appellant to reopen the case and reintroduce new issue.

“The petitioner has no reason to restate what already stated in the petition. They overlook their pleading in a specific election case. No amendment must be allow at the expiration of the slated days. So it was illegal to introduce an unpleaded fact at the tribunal. The appellant went against that law and cannot complain therein. The tribunal was right to struck out  the additional list of witness.. “

The court further held that complain by the appellant that he was deprived of fair hearing cannot be substantiated.  ” From that fact on the records of this court, there is no denial of fair hearing.’

The court however upheld the tribunal judgment, resolve all issue against the appellant and therefore dismissed the appeal in its entirety.

Meanwhile, while delivering judgement on the Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the court held that appellant failed to to prove their claim.

Rhodes-Vivour had claimed that the deputy governor, Hamzat swore oath of allegiance, renouncing it’s citizenship.

While delivering the lead judgment  was delivered by Justice Samuel Bola while other justices are members unanimously agreed that the appellant failed to demonstrate the allegation with the document.

They held that “No case of renunciation of citizenship has been established by the LP and Gbadebo against the 3rd respondent (Hamzat) in accordance with the constitution. No evidence of oath of allegiance to the United States and renunciation of Nigerian citizenship was placed before the tribunal.

“No document to prove that 3rd respondent (Hamzat) was no longer a citizen of Nigeria. It is incumbent on the appellants (LP, Gbadebo)  to prove their claim. The document were found to be computer generated evidence it is significant to note that that there was scintilla of evidence that the 2nd respondents sworn to oath of allegiance”.

Court further held that both Sanwo-Olu and Dr Hamzat was duly sponsor by their political party. APC.

It held unanimously that the tribunal was correct to hold that Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy Dr. Obafemi Hamzat were qualified to contest, contrary to the claims of the LP and Gbadebo.

The appeal also held that: “it is significant to note that form EC9 of the third respondent did you contain any oath of allegiance renouncing his citizenship.”

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