An Election Petitions Tribunal on Monday dismissed a.petition filed by Governorship candidates of the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) and the Labour Party, (LP), challenging the emergence of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Justice T. T Asua, the Chairman of the tribunal in a ruling dismissed the petitions due to the inability of the petitioners to file applications for pre-hearing conference after the close of pleadings within seven days as prescribed by law.
The three-man panel noted that timely application for pre-hearing conference was a condition to the hearing of the petitions and without the application for pre-hearing conferences, the petition cannot commence or get to the stage of judgement.
Stating further, he said the panel noted that Section 285(4) of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution was inapplicable because the timely application for pre-hearing conferences was a precondition in election petition matters.
Dismissing the petitions, Justice Asua said that inability to serve any of the respondents was not an excuse and that the consequence of failure to apply timely for pre-hearing conference is the dismissal of such a petition.
Earlier Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, the counsel to Sanwo-Olu had via a Motion filed on May 22 raised an objection based on Paragraph 18(1)(4) of the Electoral Act.
He noted that the AD and LP had not filed applications hearings for the pre-trial conference within seven days after the close of pleadings.
The petitioners had based their allegations on pre-election allegations made by the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, that the Sanwo-Olu was treated allegedly for mental ailment at the Gbagada General Hospital and that he was also convicted for spending counterfeit US Dollars in the United States.
They had sought a restraining order stopping Sanwo-Olu from being sworn in come May 29, 2019, pending the determination of the issue.
The two candidates were of the view that swearing the governor-elect in would contravene provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Sanwo-Olu has mental issues. We are asking the tribunal to stop the swearing-in by reason of insanity.
“The constitution said only those who are of sound mind should be made Governor. We have information that he was convicted in the US for spending fake Dollars.
“The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said it, it is well known to the international community, and Lagosians,” he said.