The Lagos Court of Appeal has scheduled the pronouncement of its judgment for tomorrow, Wednesday, November 15, in response to appeals lodged by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party’s gubernatorial candidate, and Abdulazeez Olajide Adediran, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Both appeals contest the validity of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s reelection.
A week ago, on November 7th, Justice Yargata Nimpar, leading the Court of Appeal panel, reserved judgment in the two appeals after carefully considering the arguments presented by the involved parties.
Through an official notice sent to the concerned parties in the appeal, the court has confirmed that the judgment is planned for tomorrow at 3 pm.
The panel includes Justice Samuel Bola and Justice Paul Bassi, alongside Justice Yargata Nimpar, in addressing the issues at hand. Parties will be notified of the judgment date, as communicated by the court.
The Election Petitions Tribunal, on September 25, reached a unanimous decision to dismiss the two petitions, upholding the renewed mandate of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat.
The three-man panel, led by Justice Yargata Nimpar, reserved judgment on November 7th during the hearing of the two appeals, subsequent to receiving arguments from the parties.
Before the justices, Olagbade Benson, acting as the lead counsel for Rhodes-Vivour, appealed to the court to permit the appeal, grant the reliefs sought, and set aside the Tribunal’s decision handed down on September 25th.
He also called upon the court to interpret Section 182(1)(a) of the Constitution and assess its implications for the qualification of the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
Gbadebo-Rhodes Vivour lodged his notice of appeal on October 7th, outlining 21 grounds challenging the State Governorship Tribunal’s decision that affirmed the victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The appeal puts forth, among other arguments, that the tribunal misconstrued the law by relying on the Court of Appeal’s decision in the petition of Mr. Peter Gregory Obi & Anor. vs. INEC & Ors., resulting in the exclusion of the testimony from all his subpoenaed witnesses.
Grounds 2 & 3 of the appeal underscore the appellants’ emphasis on their subpoenaed witnesses, asserting that the Tribunal made a legal error by determining that witnesses PW7, PW8, and PW9 were not witnesses eligible for subpoena.
The appellants contend that the Tribunal unjustly dismissed the oral evidence and documents of these witnesses, citing their omission from the witness list and the failure to accompany their sworn statements with the Petition and frontloaded documents, as required by the Electoral Act 2022.
The appeal additionally contends that the tribunal neglected to disqualify Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, despite discovering that Hamzat is a naturalized United States of America citizen who declared allegiance to that country.