Election Petition Tribunal, EPT, sitting in Lagos State on Wednesday dismissed petitions filed by the Allied Peoples Movement, APM, and Action Peoples Party, APP, against the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
The Chairman of the three-man Tribunal, Justice Arum Igyem Ashom, dismissed the petitions following withdrawals by the parties.
According to both parties Counsel, Henry Bello and Francis Ese, their clients have decided to do away with their petitions.
Respondents to the petitions are Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and All Progressives Congress, APC.
Recall that Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, his closest rival, who scored 312,329, while Dr. Azeez Olajide Adediran, who came third, garnered 62,449 votes.
The candidate of APM, Funmilayo Kupoluyi scored 884 while the candidate of APP Abiola Adeyemi 259, according to results announced by INEC.
The parties had argued in their separate Petitions that Sanwo-Olu and his deputy were not qualified to contest the election and that INEC failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
During the pre-hearing of the case at the Tribunal, the Counsel to APM, Bello informed that the motion for withdrawal was predicated on four grounds supported by two affidavits sworn to by the party’s National Chairman, Yusuf Mamman Dantalle,
According to him, “Our candidate has lost interest in the petition and has proceeded to congratulate the second respondent. We urge the petition to strike out this application.”
Counsel to APP also informed the Tribunal that he had the directive of the Chairman of the party, Chief Okey Nwosu, to withdraw the petition.
Responding, John Baiyeshe (SAN), who represented INEC in the APM petition, did not oppose the motion but asked the court to dismiss it, not strike it out, because parties have joined issues.
Counsel to Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Ayuba Kawu and that of the APC, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, did not oppose the motions for withdrawal because they aligned themselves with Baiyeshe’s argument that the petition be dismissed.
“We have no objection to the application and no agreement or undertaking about withdrawing of the petition. We align that the appropriate order to make is a dismissal.
The Counsel to APC also submitted that it is trite law that where pleadings have been joined, the appropriate order is dismissal. Once issues are joined and the time for filing a new petition has lapsed, the correct order is dismissal, not striking out, Owonikoko said.
In his ruling, Justice Ashom held, “The sum effect of what the petitioners said is that the petition is withdrawn. The respondents have filed an affidavit of non-collision and did not object. “Considering the level at which the petition is and that pleadings have been closed, we order that the petition be dismissed,” he held.
Other members of the Tribunal are Justice Mika’il Abdullahi and Justice Igho P. Braimoh.