Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have asked the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Ikeja to dismiss the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
In a preliminary objection jointly filed by the party and Ambode, they prayed the three-man tribunal panel headed by Justice Muhammad Sirajo to dismiss Agbaje’s petition on grounds of incompetence.
Agbaje is contesting the declaration of Ambode as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).
He alleged that the election was marred by several irregularities which breached the provisions of INEC approved guidelines for the polls.
Other respondents in the suit are INEC and Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Ambode, moving the application Friday argued that there was no correlation between the reliefs being sought by the petitioner and the particulars of application on one hand and the grounds for questioning the election on the other hand.
“The grounds and particulars in the petition are at opposites with the facts and reliefs being sought within the purview of Section 285(2) of the 1999 Constitution. I urge my Lordships to dismiss the petition.
“I submit that there is no petition before your lordships known to law. There are no grounds challenging the election of my client under Section 138(b)(c) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,” Olanipekun said.
According to him, there was nowhere in the pleadings where the petitioners attacked the victory of the respondents or questioned the conduct of the election.
The Senior Advocate argued that the court could not act on sentiment and sympathy of parties emphasising that sympathy did not override clear provisions of the law.
Dr. Muiz Banire, counsel to APC aligned with the submissions of Olanipekun, submitting that Agbaje’s petition had no grounds and therefore should be struck out.
“This is a groundless petition, there is no petition before Your Lordships. I pray that the purported document before Your Lordships be struck out,” Banire said.
Responding to Olanipekun and Banire’s submissions, Agbaje’s counsel, Mr. Clement Onwuenwunor maintained that the petition was competent.
Onwuenwunor argued that the issues for determination by the tribunal had been carefully spelt out.
According to him, “Paragraph 13(a) and (b) of our petition questioned the election in Lagos State on the grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and irregularities such as in the use of the card readers.
“We have looked at their preliminary objections in this case and have concluded that they are objections made on mere technicalities.”
Onwuenwunor urged the tribunal to dismiss the notices of preliminary objection with substantial costs in favour of the petitioner. The tribunal adjourned the sitting till July 1, 2015for ruling.