June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Lagos tribunal confirms Sanwo-Olu but concedes a point to petitioner Rhodes-Vivour

EXPECTEDLY, just like it did with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has dismissed the petition of Labour Party (LP) candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
Justice Arum Ashom who read the unanimous judgment late Monday held that the petition is devoid of merit, but he concedes one point to the petitioner.
In delivering its judgment, the tribunal first dwelt on the preliminary objections filed by the parties. The tribunal reiterated its earlier judgment that the issue of nomination of candidates was a pre-election issue with jurisdiction on same vested in only the Federal High Court.
It therefore dismissed this ground of Rhodes-Vivour’s petition. It also held that there were no sufficient facts put forward by the petitioner to support his ground that Sanwo-Olu’s election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Sanwo-Olu received 762,134 votes vs. Rhodes-Vivour’s 312,329 votes. Jide Adediran (Jandor) of the PDP finished third with 62,449 votes, according to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reconning.
Relying on the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in the petition of Peter Obi & 3 others, the court discountenanced the oral evidence of four subpoenaed witnesses called by the petitioner, Rhodes-Vivour in the instant case.
It noted that like the 10 subpoenaed witnesses of Obi before the presidential election court, these four witnesses also had no witness statements and were never listed at the time the petition was filed contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal however ruled in favour of the petitioner when it held that he had the locus to file the petition but noted that the petition survived on only one ground.
Dual citizenship
“Whether the 2nd & 3rd respondents were not jointly disqualified, when contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act, the 3rd respondent while still being a citizen of the United States of America and voluntarily renouncing his allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, allowed himself to be nominated as the deputy governorship candidate to the 2nd Respondent on the platform of the 4th Respondent, the APC…”
In its judgment on this issue, the tribunal held that there are a plethora of authorities that dual nationality by a Nigerian citizen by birth does not disentitle him from holding elective office and, this is a point that has been consistently echoed by appellate courts in Nigeria.
It particularly took note of S.182(1)(a) of the Constitution which was the foundation laid by the petitioners for the disqualification of the 3rd respondent.
The said Section 182 (1) (a) reads thus: “182(1) No person shall be qualified for election to the Governor of a State if, subject to the provisions of S.28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such country.”
Finally, the tribunal rejected the witness statement and evidence of a US Immigration lawyer, Mrs. Olubusayo Fasidi, on the ground that her testimony was misconceived.