Lagos tribunal approves substituted service of PDP’s petition on Sanwo-Olu, others


The Lagos State governorship election petition Tribunal has granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Azeez Adediran, also known as Jandor, permission to serve copies of their petitions on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other respondents in the petition through substituted means. The Tribunal approved the request after hearing a motion ex-parte filed by the PDP and Adediran. The respondents in the petition are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sanwo-Olu, Sanwo-Olu’s Deputy, Dr Hamzat Obafemi; APC, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and the Labour Party (LP).

According to the PDP and Adediran’s counsel, Austin Akpomreta, the respondents were not physically available to receive the court process stipulated by the law. Akpomreta urged the Tribunal to grant him leave to serve the petition and other processes on the governor and his deputy through any officer or the secretary of APC at its Lagos State Secretariat, while also asking for the same process to serve Rhodes-Vivour through any officer or secretary of LP at its Lagos State Secretariat.

The petitioners called for the disqualification of Sanwo-Olu and Rhodes-Vivour in the election for non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s guidelines, stating that they were not qualified to contest at the time of the election. They also requested that all votes cast for the two candidates in the election should be declared wasted and that Adediran should be declared the winner of the election.

The Lagos State Police Command made significant breakthroughs in the anti-cultism operation, resulting in the arrest of 42 alleged cultists. The Lagos Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, disclosed that the operation, which was intelligence-led, cut across the Lagos metropolis and was carried out at Ijora, Orile, Ebute-Metta, and Ikorodu. During the operation, ten firearms of various descriptions, including locally-made shotguns, semi-automatic fabricated pistols, and an English-made pistol, were recovered from the cultists. Three axes, three cutlasses, three daggers, three knives, thirty live cartridges, and multiple charms were also recovered. Owohunwa warned cultists and criminal elements that the police would deploy all operation assets to sustain the battle against cultists who threaten the internal security of Lagos.

Strengthening synergy between citizens and the police will bring about effective policing, and the police cannot do it alone. Owohunwa emphasized that cultists have the option to change for the better and opt for a legitimate means of livelihood, or have the Nigerian police and the law to contend with as law enforcement agencies would not sit back and allow miscreants to continue arming themselves and engaging in senseless warfare and unrest in Lagos.

In the petition marked EPT/LAG/GOV/01/2023 and dated April 7, the petitioners said APC did not comply with the INEC timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, which stipulated that all political parties must give 21 days’ notice to INEC before the conduct of the primary election. The tribunal granted all the reliefs prayed by the PDP and Adediran