The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, of the All Progressives Congress in the April 11 governorship poll.
In a unanimous judgment of the seven-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Tanko Muhammad, the Supreme Court struck out the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the election, Mr. Olujimi Agbaje, for not being competent.
In its judgment read by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the Supreme Court struck out Agbaje’s appeal by upholding Ambode’s preliminary objection contending that the appeal was incompetent and academic.
The apex court upheld the argument of Ambode’s lawyer, Olabode Olanipenikun, that the appeal had been rendered incompetent and academic by virtue of the fact that the PDP refused to join Agbaje to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had earlier upheld the judgment of the Lagos State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which had affirmed Ambode’s victory.
Justice Ogunbiyi ruled, “From all intents and purposes, the communal deduction of the foregoing is a situation where a sponsoring political party has accepted the dismissal of its challenge to an election as binding on it.
Dissatisfied with the declaration of Ambode as the winner of the election, Agbaje and the PDP had filed their petition challenging the outcome of the poll at the Lagos State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
In its judgment on June 26, 2015, the tribunal dismissed the petition on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear it by reason of the incompetence of the suit.
The petitioners further appealed to the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which also in its judgment on August 26, dismissed it on the same grounds on which the tribunal anchored its decision.
But only Agbaje further appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
Justice Ogunbiyi, in dismissing Agbaje’s appeal, held that a political party was important “over and above a candidate in an election in our constitutional democracy.”Apart from Ambode, other respondents to the petition were the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC, and the Lagos State Resident Electoral Commission of INEC