Alausa, the administrative heart of Lagos State, was buzzing with palpable excitement on Monday as news of the Lagos Election Petition Tribunal’s verdict in favor of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reverberated throughout the state capital.
The tribunal, which deliberated for nearly 10 hours, decisively dismissed two petitions challenging Governor Sanwo-Olu’s victory in the March 18, 2023, election, conducted under the auspices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Governor had run for office under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The petitions, filed by Dr. Olajide Adediran of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party (LP), were the main challenges to Governor Sanwo-Olu’s election.
In response to the unanimous tribunal ruling, delivered by the presiding Judge, Justice Arum Ashom, Governor Sanwo-Olu, accompanied by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, hailed the verdict as “well-considered and comprehensive.” He emphasized that the court’s decision reaffirmed the judiciary’s unwavering commitment to the principles of fairness and justice.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, displaying a magnanimous spirit, declared that there were no winners or losers in this legal battle. Instead, he dedicated the judgment to the entirety of Lagos State’s residents, who had steadfastly supported his administration throughout the electoral process.
Reflecting on the challenging journey to re-election, Governor Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the resounding voices of Lagosians at the polls, resulting in his resounding victory. He underscored that the tribunal’s decision underscored the will and choice of the people, further solidifying the democratic process in the state.
He said: “I am glad to announce the information I have just received that Lagos Election Petition Tribunal judgements have been given in our favour. I commend the judiciary and the judges that delivered the well thought-out and detailed judgments. They took their time to explain to everyone the reasons that led them to the views and conclusion they gave today. We thank the judges for their firm commitment to principle of fairness and justice.
“As it is, Mr Deputy and I feel very privileged to have been elected to serve at this important moment in the history of our State. We thank all Lagosians for standing by us all through this journey. For us, this judgement is a victory for all. We are not coming out here to say somebody won or lost. For all of us on this political trajectory, there are no winners or losers.
“For us, our aim in governance is about service and ensuring that we are not distracted from all the promises we made to Lagosians. This judgement has given us the opportunity to double up our interventions to ensure that we continue to deliver quality dividends of democracy to our citizens.”
Sanwo-Olu extended his hands of fellowship to his opponents, urging them to display spirit of sportsmanship and accept the verdict of the tribunal in good faith.
The Governor invited candidates of the PDP and LP to come join hand with his Government and channel their passion to causes that would take the State to the next phase of development.
“I still want to give an opportunity to opposition parties’ candidates that contested against us to join hand with us if they share the same passion and commitment that we have to serve. We are ready to sit with them and have conversation around what ways they can channel their ideas in the development of the State. Lagos is big and its challenges are real, while its opportunities are boundless. There is always a room for everybody to contribute,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Governor said the State Government would not be marking the tribunal judgement with any form of celebration. Instead, he stressed that he would rather divert his energy towards the responsibility of governance.
The party, Sanwo-Olu said, is free to organise events for Lagosians in marking the victory at the court.