Appeal court sitting in Lagos today affirmed the verdict of the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld the declaration of Akinwunmi Ambode as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election.
The appellate court aligned with the July 1, 2015 decision of the Justice Muhammad Sijaro-led tribunal which declared as incompetent and struck out the petition filed by Jimi Agbaje, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The three-man tribunal in their ruling upheld Ambode’s victory,and ruled that: “In the said petition, apart from seeking an order nullifying the election of Ambode the second respondent, the petitioner did not ask for an order for fresh election.
“So if, for instance, the election is nullified, the people of Lagos State will be left in anarchy as no order can validly be made for the conduct of fresh election, same having not been sought for.
“Where such a prayer is lacking, the petition will be incompetent and academic as even the resolution of such a petition in favour of the petitioner will not confer any utilitarian value on the petitioner(s).”
Again, at the Court of Appeal,today the five-man appeal panel did not only dismissed Agbaje’s appeal on the ground of incompetence but also ordered him to compensate each of the respondents in the sum of N50,000 each.
Ambode was returned winner of the April 11, 2015 poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission having polled 811,994 votes ahead of Agbaje who polled 659,788 votes.
While arguing Ambode’s cross-appeal against Agbaje, PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) before the appellate court, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) submitted that Agbaje and PDP’s petition was “incurably defective” because it raised an issue that had no relationship with the reliefs they sought at the trial tribunal.
Olanipekun further submitted that one of the petitioners claimed there were “corrupt practices” during the election, which he said differed from what they pleaded.