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Tribunal orders substituted service as Sanwo-Olu had been evading service of the petition by the bailiff



The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Ikeja, has granted an ex-parte application brought before it by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, for a substituted service of his petition on the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

In the petition, which was filed on Sunday, April 9, Rhodes-Vivour had challenged the outcome of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Sanwo-Olu as the winner.

At the sitting of the tribunal yesterday, Rhodes-Vivour, through his counsel, Mr. Olagbade Benson, pointed out that Sanwo-Olu has been evading service of the petition by the bailiff.

According to Benson, Governor Sanwo-Olu refused to collect the document from the bailiff when the court official got to his office to serve him.

The tribunal subsequently ordered that service be done on the Governor and his Deputy through a DHL courier service company or any other recognized courier service company to the respondent’s official residence at Lagos House, Marina.

In his 271-paged petition filed before the Tribunal on April 9, Rhodes-Vivour who is the sole petitioner says that Sanwo-Olu was wrongfully returned as the election was vitiated by substantial non-compliance with the mandatory statutory requirements and irregularities that inimically substantially affected the elections in some polling wards, wards, and local government areas.

The petitioner also said that the failure of INEC to comply with the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2020, the Manual of Election Officials 2023, and the Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of Elections 2022 impugns irredeemably the integrity of the Lagos Governorship elections of March 18, 2023.

Rhodes-Vivour listed three grounds on which his petition is based. He alleged that Sanwo-Olu was not qualified to contest the election and was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast and the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Constitution.

In facts put to support his petition, Rhodes-Vivour also claimed that Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat, contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2020, while still being a citizen of the USA and by denouncing his allegiance to Nigeria, allowed himself to be nominated as the deputy governorship candidate.

The petitioner contends that by reason of the disqualification of both men, all votes recorded for them and the APC are wasted and he is, therefore, entitled to be declared the winner of the election.

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