Lagos Tribunal commences hearing of applications from election petitioners

The Lagos State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal commenced its hearing today, addressing eight applications brought forward by petitioners with regards to the 2023 elections held on February 25th and March 11th.

Among the applications presented, two were for substituted service, three were for the inspection of INEC materials, and another three sought to withdraw their petitions for being filed out of time.

According to Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, the tribunal presided in the secretariat of the Rosaline Omotoso Courthouse, situated in the Ikeja area. However, the tribunal hearing petitions into the Governorship elections in the state did not proceed as lawyers to the governor had not been served with the various petitions filed.

“Until they are served, there is nothing the tribunal can do. We have to respect the rules of the court,” Soyele explained.

Four petitions have been filed to challenge the return of Governor Babajide SanwoOlu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran, and the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, have filed, with the latter filing as the sole petitioner. Others include the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and the Action People’s Party (APP).

In anticipation of these challenges, Governor Sanwo-Olu has set up a legal team comprised of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria and several other lawyers. Led by Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), the legal team also comprises Adesegun Ajibola (SAN), Norrison Quakers (SAN), and Babatunde Ogala (SAN).

The Governor’s legal team expressed confidence in their ability to defend their client and assured the public that they were taking the situation seriously.

“We are ready for any petition. The Governor wants to see the matters resolved and we assure the public that we are taking the situation seriously,” Owonikoko stated.

As the proceedings continue, interested parties will be eagerly awaiting the tribunal’s decision.

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