The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal has removed the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, from the petition filed by Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the recent governorship election results.
During the hearing on September 25, as reported by Channels TV, the tribunal, chaired by Justice Arum Ashom, decided to deliver judgment first in the case involving the PDP and its candidate before addressing the petition filed by the Labour Party’s governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour. The panel also included Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh.
In the judgment, read by Justice Abdullahi, the tribunal initially focused on the preliminary objections raised by the parties. One objection concerned whether the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat, who was the 3rd Respondent, should be considered a separate and distinct candidate from Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the 2nd Respondent. The tribunal ruled that a deputy governor and a governor are not separate candidates and therefore are not required to pay separate security deposits.
The second objection questioned whether a person who lost an election could be joined as a respondent in an election petition. Jandor had included Rhodes-Vivour as a respondent in his petition. The tribunal agreed that an election petition is intended to be filed between the winner and the loser, not between two individuals who both lost the election.
Consequently, the tribunal upheld the preliminary objection and removed Rhodes-Vivour (the 5th Respondent) from Jandor’s petition, expunging all exhibits submitted by Rhodes-Vivour from its records. It also emphasized that Rhodes-Vivour could not challenge any part of Jandor’s petition judgment, as it would make him a meddlesome interloper.
Similarly, the tribunal found that the Labour Party (the 6th Respondent) should not have been joined in Jandor and the PDP’s petition and struck the party’s name from the case, removing all related evidence and exhibits from its records. However, the tribunal disagreed with objections raised by the APC and its candidate regarding the misjoinder of the Labour Party and its candidate, stating that misjoinder should not lead to striking out the petition. Instead, the appropriate order was to strike out the names of the parties involved. The name of the 5th respondent had already been struck out, and the 6th respondent was ordered to be similarly removed from the case.