Agbaje Loses To Ambode At Lagos Tribunal | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agbaje Loses To Ambode At Lagos Tribunal

Posted: Jul 2, 2015 at 12:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  Gov Hails Judgement

•  It’s Miscarriage Of Justice – Agbaje

By Temidayo Akinsuyi, Tunde Opeseitan,



The Lagos State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Ikeja, on Wednesday, struck out the petition brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Jimi Agbaje, against Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Agbaje’s petition was dismissed on the ground of incompetence, by the three-man panel headed by Justice Muhammad Surajo.

Jimi Agbaje and Akinwunmi Ambode

Jimi Agbaje and Akinwunmi Ambode

Agbaje had petitioned the tribunal to contest the declaration of Ambode as winner of the April 11, 2015, governorship election in the state, by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).

He had alleged that the said election was marred by irregularities, which, according to him, breached the provisions of INEC’s approved guidelines for the polls.

Other respondents in the suit are INEC and Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner.

Ruling on the preliminary objection, on Wednesday, Justice Surajo held that the petition was incompetent, noting that the petitioner, Agbaje, did not ask for a fresh election despite asking the court to nullify the election.

The judge said: “In the instant petition, apart from seeking an order nullifying the election of the second respondent, the petitioner did not ask for an order of fresh election.

“So, if for instance, the election is nullified, the people of Lagos State would be left in an anarchy situation as no order can validly be made for the conduct of fresh election, same having not been sought for.

“A petition that is found on disqualification of a respondent and an order of nullification of the election must of necessity contain a prayer for an order of fresh election.

“Where such a prayer is lacking, the petition will be incompetent and academic, as even the resolution of such a petition in favor of the petitioner will not confer any utilitarian value on the petitioner(s).

“Where no relief for fresh election is claimed in a petition, a ground of petition founded on section 138(1)(b) of the Electoral Act and the entire petition itself are incompetent and liable to be struck out.”

Victorious Ambode expectedly described the judgement as a confirmation of his victory at the polls, and said it was a welcome development.

“I am elated at the ruling of the tribunal which is an affirmation of my victory at the polls. On April 11, 2015, the people of Lagos spoke with their votes about continuity and that is what the tribunal has just reaffirmed,” he enthused.

“The task ahead requires concerted efforts from everyone. I urge all my opponents to put the election struggles behind them and in the spirit of sportsmanship join hands with me to take Lagos to the next level”, the Governor said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna.

Regardless, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has described the ruling as miscarriage of justice.

The party in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, described the tribunal ruling as a monumental drawback in the dispensation of justice.

It said it would appeal the ruling whilst also considering a report of the decision by the election petition panel to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for necessary disciplinary actions.

According to PDP, “We are very jolted and embarrassed that our petition can die prematurely without it being heard on its merit.

“We think there is a miscarriage of justice here. We are interested in the motive and motivators.

“The panel held that it had jurisdiction to hear our appeal; that our grounds are also competent.

“It however held that the petition had no life because it didn’t include a relief for re-election.

“This is supposed to be determined during the proper trial. In any case, we put as relief a declaration that we be returned as validly elected. “The Panel cannot dictate to us what relief to demand. Why should the Panel even expect a relief for re-rerun instead of declaration as winner?”

Meanwhile, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, has described Ambode’s victory as well-deserved.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos after the tribunal’s verdict, Obasa stated that the tribunal’s verdict was a further confirmation that the people of the state voted for Ambode and the APC.

“We are happy with the verdict and it was a further proof of the legality of our Governor’s and APC’s victory during the election,” he said.