The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Olajide Adediran (also known as Jandor), filed a petition with the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on March 18, but Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the LP’s candidate, requested that it be combined with their petition.
The Tribunal also denied Rhodes-Vivour’s request for authorization to present more witnesses in support of his case.
Electoral Act 2022, Section 285(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and Paragraphs 4 subsections(5) and (6) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, as well as Paragraph 14(2), Justice Ashom, who read the rulings on behalf of the three-person tribunal, held that by combining these provisions, the law provides that petitions can be consolidated, but care must be taken in doing so as the intricate details must be ascertained and the court must be satisfied that one petition
The court in this instance decided that Rhodes-Vivour is a respondent in PDP’s petition and that the parties to the two petitions are distinct in this instance. The petitions could not be consolidated since the court further pointed out that the issues and reliefs requested by the parties were distinct.
According to CHANNELS TV, the tribunal concluded that the names of the extra witnesses were not included in the list of initial witnesses presented with the petition, notwithstanding Rhodes-Vivour’s request for permission to call further witnesses.
The Tribunal further highlighted that, in accordance with Section 285(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the same should have been filed within the allotted 21 days.
The Tribunal additionally declared that the petitioner was barred from filing the list of additional witnesses since he failed to request a delay within the allotted time frame.
The Tribunal also provided its pre-hearing report, which included the number of witnesses each party was to call and the given time for their examination and cross-examination.
In the interest of justice, the Tribunal permitted the petitioner, Rhodes-Vivour, to call 30 witnesses in support of his case; the first respondent, INEC; and the second and third respondents, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy; were each given permission to call 10 witnesses in support of their respective cases. Twenty witnesses may be called by the APC, the fourth respondent.
The witnesses also include people who the parties intend to summon.
With these instructions, the tribunal deferred further proceedings until Tuesday, June 13, when it will begin considering the petitions, and the pre-hearing sessions in the petition were concluded.