The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in Lagos State, has dismissed the application of the Labour Party, LP’s candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, seeking an order for leave to consolidate his petition with that of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Olajide Adediran.
The tribunal headed by Justice Arum Igyen Ashom also dismissed Mr. Rhodes-Vivour’s request to file an additional list of witnesses and their written statements on oath.
After hearing arguments from all parties in the suit last Friday, the three-justice panel dismissed the application for consolidation on grounds that the parties, as well as the facts, and subject-matter of their petitions and reliefs sought are different.
The LP candidate’s petition was brought against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Governor Babajide SanwoOlu and his Deputy, Obafemi Hazmat, who were both declared winners of the March 18 election, as well as their party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
But in Mr. Adediran’s petition, he and his party are the petitioners, while the respondents are INEC, Messrs SanwoOlu and Hazmat, the APC, as well as Mr Rhodes-Vivour and his party.
The tribunal also ruled that Mr Adediran’s Counsel had earlier indicated in the pre-hearing information sheet, Form TF 008 of the Electoral Act 2022, that he didn’t want his action to be considered with that of others.
In the second application, which was dismissed, the tribunal held that the LP’s candidate should have sought the leave of the court for extension of time within which to amend his petition, as the 21 days stipulated by the Act within which to file an election petition has since passed.
Other members of the tribunal are Justice Mikail Abdullahi and Justice Igho Braimoh.
Also on Monday, the tribunal reviewed its initial order on the number of witnesses to be called by parties in Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s petition, by allowing the APC, its candidates and that of the LP to present 30 witnesses each. Only INEC said it would limit the number of its witnesses to 10.
Further hearing is fixed till June 13.