The election of Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State in the March 9 polls was on Monday reaffirmed by the Lagos State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal.
Led by Justice T. T Asua, the three-man tribunal in a unanimous decision, dismissed the Petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its Candidate, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, declaring that the petition failed.
It 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 laws.
The tribunal further described the petition as a “futile and wasteful exercise”.
It noted that the petitioners could not prove their allegations of mental incompetence against Sanwo-Olu in their evidence placed before the tribunal.
The panel held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of election malpractices against Sanwo-Olu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“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,” Asua said.
The tribunal had earlier struck out the names of the fourth to seventh respondents from the petition.
They are the Resident Commissioner for Lagos State INEC, the Returning Officer for Lagos State Governorship Election, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Nigeria Army.
It held that there were no ties linking them to the allegations contained in the petition.
During the hearing of the petition, the petitioners had called six witnesses, including Awamaridi and three other witnesses who were subpoenaed by the tribunal.
The respondents, on the other hand, did not call any witness.
The tribunal held that there was no newspaper evidence nor medical evidence from the Gbagada General Hospital was presented by the petitioners to support their allegation of mental illness against Sanwo-Olu.
”PW5 openly stated in court that ‘the evidence does not exist’. That portion of the petition remains abandoned and I so hold,” Asua said.
The Tribunal noted that Awamaridi, the LP gubernatorial candidate while testifying during the hearing of the petition had said that he did not cast a vote during the March 9 gubernatorial polls because he was certain his Permanent Voters Card (PVC) was cloned.
The Tribunal said that Awamaridi in his testimony could not pinpoint where the alleged irregularities took place but rather asserted that he was informed of everything within his knowledge by his agents.
“The journey of this Petition has been a futile and wasteful exercise.
PW1 (Awamaridi) as a witness, dumped the evidence on the tribunal and expected it to go on a voyage of discovery.
“Each document has to be related to the case, PW1 did not tie any of the evidence to the case.
“Since the petitioners didn’t link exhibits P18 to P20 to their case, the evidence lacks probative value and are not relevant to their case.
“The Petitioners have failed to structure the case within the parameters set by the apex courts. PW1, PW2 and PW4 testified in relation to polling units but could not ties their allegations to any specific polling unit,” the tribunal held.