The 2023 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, has written a letter to the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, seeking the transfer of the state’s governorship petition appeal from Lagos to Abuja.
In the letter dated October 23, 2023, Adediran said this was to ensure fairness and objectivity “devoid of potential meddling.”
Dongban-Mensem had recently directed parties and their counsel to transfer all election appeal cases to the Abuja and Lagos divisions of the appellate court.
Adediran noted that his request seeks to achieve the same purpose as the directive given by the appellate court president.
The letter, which was obtained by THE WHISTLER on Monday read: “I write to humbly seek your gracious approval and directive, as the first petitioner, to have the above case transferred from its original jurisdiction, which is Lagos State to Abuja, to ensure fairness and objectivity devoid of potential meddling.
“This seeks to achieve the same purpose upon which your lordship recently directed the transfer of all election petition appeals out of their original jurisdictions nationwide to safeguard neutrality, equity and to discourage interference.
“While awaiting your gracious approval, kindly accept my best regards.”
In a statement on Monday, the PDP candidate said his petition centres on constitutional grounds for qualifications for the governorship election, as prescribed by the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
Recall that the state’s Governorship Election Tribunal had last month dismissed Adediran’s petition against the outcome of the March 18 governorship election in the state, in which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was declared as the duly elected governor of Lagos State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal ruled that the issue of non-compliance as argued by the petitioner on the nomination of the 2nd respondent, Obafemi Hamzat (Deputy Governor of Lagos State), is a pre-election matter.
The Justice Arum Ashom-led panel also ruled that only a member of a political party who participated in a primary election can contest the nomination process.
However, Adediran has filed 34 grounds of appeal to show “how the Tribunal erred in law” in dismissing his petition.
“Part of it was the Allegation of forgery of WAEC statement of result presented to INEC by Governor Sanwoolu which was proved to be true by WAEC masterlist tendered in court by WAEC itself via subpoena. This ran foul of section 182(1)(j) of the constitution and it is a ground for disqualification.
“Section 29(2) of the electoral act 2022, says: “a candidate is deemed to have carried out all constitutional requirements for the position he’s contesting, having sworn to an affidavit and declare on oath in support of claims he has made in his INEC Form EC9, and Failure to do this indicates that such a candidate hasn’t fulfilled all constitutional requirements for the position he’s contesting for. This, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat of APC did not comply with in his form EC9.
“In paragraph 69, 70 and 71 of our petition, we pleaded that GRV as at the time of obatining nomination form for his sponsorship in Labour Party, was still a member of the PDP and was not sponsored by the PDP for the election.
“This we were able to prove at the tribunal, by tendering evidences of his subsequent official participation in PDP affairs, such as an Application letter written by him to be Deputy Governorship Candidate under PDP, and reports of screening exercise for Deputy Governorship candidates under the PDP, held at the PDP HQ, which he personally attended, screened and cleared.
“His disqualification falls under section 177(c) of the Constitution which is a constitutional ground for qualification to run for Governor in Nigeria, as he was not sponsored by PDP and you can’t also be a member of two political parties at the same time,” he said in the statement.