Lagos State Local Government Election Petitions Appeal Tribunal will today [Thursday] determine the fate of Babajide Obanikoro, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) chairmanship candidate in the October 22, 2011 election in Ikoyi/Obalende Local Council Development Area of the state.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate, Mr. Adewale Adeniji, had prayed the appellate tribunal to set aside the judgment of the lower tribunal, which earlier declared Obanikoro the elected chairman of the LCDA.
The five-man tribunal led by Justice Dolapo Akinsanya (retd.) in its judgment last October 4, invalidated Adeniji’s election and ordered the state Independent Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to him.
But in their last October 5 notice of appeal filed through their counsel, Mr. Olayinka Okedara, Adeniji and his party sought an order of the appellate tribunal to set aside the lower tribunal’s judgment and to uphold the declaration of Adeniji as the winner of the October 22, 2011 poll.
Among their four grounds of appeal was that the lower tribunal erred in law by striking out its final address.
Okedara insisted that the striking out of ACN’s final address for not being “properly before it” was a development, which amounted to "infraction" of the party’s fundamental right to fair hearing.
He also prayed the appellate tribunal to upturn the lower tribunal’s judgment because the latter misdirected it when it held that the uncontroverted evidence of ACN’s witnesses could not be "ascribed probative value".
However, the appeal tribunal, headed by Justice Opeyemi Oke, had fixed Thursday (today) for judgment even as another appeal filed before the panel by LASIEC against the same judgment, has yet to be heard.
Meanwhile, the panel had adjourned ruling on a preliminary objection filed by Obanikoro asking the tribunal to strike out the LASIEC’s appeal "for being incompetent and/or an abuse of process" till February 20.
Obanikoro’s counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), had said LASIEC’s appeal was a merely an abuse of court process as it would warrant re-arguing an appeal already fixed for judgment.
Part of Ayorinde’s grounds for objecting the appeal was that LASIEC had no locus standi to appeal a decision of a court or tribunal "which neither affects nor prejudices" the performance of its statutory duties.
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