The Lagos State Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal has declared the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Mr. Babajide Obanikoro, as the validly elected chairman of the Ikoyi/Obalende Local Council Development Area of the state.
The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission had declared the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Adewale Adeniji, as the winner of the election conducted on October 22, 2011.
However, the five-man tribunal, presided over by retired Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, while delivering judgment on the petition filed by Obanikoro challenging Adeniji’s victory on Thursday, held that the PDP polled the highest number of valid votes in the election.
The tribunal nullified Adeniji’s election and ordered LASIEC to revoke the Certificate of Return issued to him.
Obanikoro, son of former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro, was said to have scored 6,780 valid votes while Adeniji scored 6,248 votes.
According to the tribunal, the petitioners- Obanikoro and the PDP – were able to prove that the election results were not collated at the polling units.
Akinsanya said, “Section 11(2) of the Local Government Elections Petitions Tribunal Law 2011 empowers this tribunal to nullify any election that does not comply with the laid down regulations.
“The petitioners have been able to discharge the burden of proof vested on them as regards the collation of results.
“The petitioners have shown that the non-collation of the results at the units and ward level substantially affected the outcome of the result declared by LASIEC.
“We order LASIEC to issue a Certificate of Return to the petitioners with immediate effect having won the disputed election.”
The tribunal also awarded N100,000 as cost against the respondents in favour of the petitioners.
Obanikoro had, in his petition, asked the tribunal to upturn the election on the grounds that the results were not collated at the ward and local government levels but were only declared at the LASIEC’s headquarters.
Such procedure adopted by the LASIEC was said to be contrary to relevant provisions of the electoral rules.