By Benjamin Omoike
The Labour Party (LP), and its Lagos State Governorship candidate in the last general elections, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, on Monday lost their bid to nullify Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s electoral victory.
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ikeja on Monday while reaffirming Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected Governor of the state, described the petition as futile and wasteful exercise.
The three-man panel of judges led by Justice T . T Asua held in their judgement that LP and Awamaridi could not prove their allegations of mental incompetence against Sanwo-Olu in the evidence they presented before the tribunal.
The panel, in its three-hour judgment, further held that the petitioners also failed to prove their allegations of election malpractice against the Governor and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Tribunal also held that its earlier decision to dismiss the petition which was later appealed by the petitioners was still valid because the petition was not filed according to the laws governing the electoral process.
It stated, “The petitioners have failed to meet the requirement of the law. The petitioners have failed in our humble view to discharge the onus of proof which would have been placed on the Respondents.
“We confirm the return of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the duly elected Governor of the State, ” Justice Asua said.
Earlier, the Tribunal had struck out the names of the fourth to seventh respondents: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, INEC Returning Officer for Lagos State Governorship Election, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State and the Nigeria Army.
The panel held that from the evidence adduced, there were no ties linking them to the allegations contained in the petition.
The petitioners had in their petitions challenged Sanwo-Olu’s victory on the grounds that he is not competent to run as a gubernatorial candidate in the election.
They had also claimed that the March 9 polls was marred by violence, voting irregularities and that Sanwo-Olu cannot vote or be voted for as he has no valid voters card.