…dismisses PDPs appeal
The Supreme Court has upheld the election victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State.
The apex court affirmed the earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lagos, dismissing the appeal by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party on the grounds of lacking merit.
Rhodes-Vivour had asked the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, which affirmed the victory of Governor Sanwo-Olu.
The legal team representing LP asked the Supreme Court to sack the governor on the grounds of non-compliance to the Electoral Act and for not winning a majority of lawful votes cast.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who chaired the Supreme Court panel, emphasized that a Nigerian by birth is eligible to contest elections and cannot be hindered from holding dual citizenship. This ruling solidifies Sanwo-Olu’s position as the duly elected leader of Lagos State.
The electoral challenges raised against Governor Sanwo-Olu pertained to the certificates he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the governorship election.
The Labour Party and its candidate, Rhodes-Vivour, as well as Olajide Adediran of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had filed appeals seeking to set aside the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
The appeals were dismissed by a three-man appellate court panel led by Justice Yargata Nimpar, citing constitutional disqualification for Jandor, who was not a member of the All Progressives Congress, and lack of merit in proving their case.
Despite the arguments from the LP candidate and Jandor, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, maintained the lower courts’ findings.
Justice Mohammed Garba, reading the lead judgment, highlighted constitutional provisions and judicial precedent, asserting that a Nigerian by birth can aspire to any election in Nigeria.
The court also addressed the argument regarding the deputy governor’s dual citizenship, stating that the LP and its candidate failed to provide evidence of the deputy governor renouncing his Nigerian citizenship while obtaining that of the United States.
INEC had initially declared Sanwo-Olu the winner of the election with 762,134 votes, while Rhodes-Vivour received 312,329 votes, and Jandor secured 62,499 votes.
Additionally, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Adediran of the PDP challenging Sanwo-Olu’s victory.
Justice Adamu Jauro cited the expiration of the 180-day timeframe for determining such cases at the trial court, deeming the appeal devoid of merit.
“This appeal is devoid of any merit, and it is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Jauro said.