The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has ordered the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Lagos State to resume hearing in the petitions challenging the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of the All Progressives Congress.
A five-member appellate court panel held on Tuesday that the tribunal was wrong to have discontinued hearing on the basis that the petitioners, the Alliance for Democracy, and its governorship candidate for Lagos State for the March 9, 2019 governorship election, Chief Owolabi Salis, abandoned their petition.
“From the records, it is clear that the tribunal was wrong to have declared the petition as an abandoned petition.
“The case is to be remitted to the lower court for expeditious hearing of the matter,” Justice O.O. Daniel-Kalio, who read the lead judgment, held.
The other members of the panel, including Justice Hussein Mukthar, Justice O. F. Ogbuinya, Justice Stephen Adah and Justice B. B. Aliyu, agreed with the lead judgment.
Similarly, the panel, in a unanimous decision, overturned the dismissal of the petition filed by the Labour Party and its governorship candidate for the election, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, against Sanwo-Olu.
The appellate court said the tribunal was wrong in its conclusion that Awamaridi failed to file his application for pre-hearing conference within seven days as prescribed by the law.
The panel, which held that the tribunal failed to check its own records, ordered the return of the petition to the tribunal for expeditious determination.
Besides Sanwo-Olu and the APC, also joined as respondents in the petitions were the Independent National Electoral Commission; its Residential Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State; the Returning Officer for the Lagos State governorship election, the Commissioner of Police and the Army.