The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed an application filed by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party (LP)’s candidate, in the March 18 election, seeking to consolidate his petition with that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s candidate, Olajide Adediran (popularly known as Jandor).
The Tribunal also dismissed an application by Rhodes-Vivour seeking leave to call additional witnesses in proof of his petition.
Justice Ashom who read the rulings on behalf of the three man tribunal held that by a combined reading of Section 285(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Section 132 of the Electoral Act 2022 as well as Paragraph 4 subsection(5)& (6) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act & Paragraph 14(2), 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 judgment can resolve the two petitions satisfactorily.
In the instant case, the court took the view that the parties in the two petitions are different and in fact Rhodes-Vivour is a respondent in PDP’s petition. The court also noted that the issues and reliefs sought by the parties are also different and as such, there was no way the petitions could be consolidated.
On the application filed by Rhodes-Vivour seeking leave to call additional witnesses, the tribunal held that the names of the additional witnesses was not contained in the list of original witnesses filed along with the petition.
The Tribunal also noted that same ought to have been filed within the stipulated 21 days in line with Section 285(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
The Tribunal further held that the petitioner did not bring an application for extension of time within which to file the list of additional witnesses within the stipulated time and he was therefore foreclosed.
The Tribunal also gave its pre hearing report on the number of witnesses to be called by each party and the time allotted for examination and cross examination of each witnesses.
In the interest of justice, the Tribunal allowed the petitioner, Rhodes-Vivour to call 30 witnesses in proof of his case, the first respondent, INEC is to call 10 witnesses to prove its case while the second & third respondents, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy have also been allowed to call 30 witnesses to defend its mandate. The APC which is the 4th respondent has been allowed to call 20 witnesses.
The witnesses includes those to be subpoenaed by the parties.
With these directions, the tribunal ended the pre hearing sessions in the petition and adjourned further proceedings till Tuesday, June 13 when it will start hearing the petitions.