There is palpable tension within the political camp of the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, following a recent move by the governorship candidate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul-Azeez Adediran, to upturn his victory at the governorship election tribunal in the state.
Inside sources say that Sanwo-Olu, and his men, who are of the All Progressives Congress, are aware of the groundswell of allegations of corruption sorrounding the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial elections in the State and are afraid that if these allegations are properly proven, might upset the apple cart at the elections tribunal.
Besides Adediran, (popularly known as Jandor) has presented a very strong case at the tribunal with weighty evidence that will likely upturn the election results.
Jandor is calling for the disqualification of the APC and the Labour Party (LP) candidates in the election for “non-compliance” with the Electoral Act 2022 as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the petition marked EPT/LAG/GOV/01/2023 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.
While INEC is the first respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Obafemi Hamzat, his deputy governorship candidate; APC; Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, LP governorship candidate, and the LP respectively are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th respondents.
Besides the allegation of non-compliance with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Adediran added that at the time of the governorship election, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, and Rhodes-Vivour were not qualified to contest the election.
He asked that all votes cast for them in the election be declared wasted.
According to the petition, the APC also failed to comply with the requirement of the Electoral Act 2022 which states that every political party sponsoring a candidate in the general election shall submit the nomination form of such candidate(s) not later than 180 days before the conduct of the general election in forms EC9.
Adediran and the PDP added that Sanwo-Olu failed to attach a copy of the GCE O’Level result he claimed to have sat for in 1981 along with his form EC9 as required by the Electoral Act 2022 among other allegations.
However, Governor Sanwoolu 2019 form CF001 received from INEC and attached as exhibit to Jandor and PDP petition to the tribunal, revealed an attachment of a purported 1981 statement of WAEC result from Ijebu Ife community grammar school with examination number 17624/118. WAEC response on the Verification of this result via WAEC DIRECT RESULT VERIFICATION PORTAL indicated a non-existence of the Candidate name in the specified year and Exam diet.
Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour who’s the candidate of Labour Party, as seen in the evidence attached to Jandor and PDP petition to the tribunal, claimed under oath to have joined the Labour Party on the 18th of June, 2022, meanwhile an application letter personally signed by him to be the PDP deputy governorship candidate for the same 2023 was dated 19th June, 2022. A day after he claimed under oath to have joined the Labour Party. He also attended the screening exercise for PDP deputy Governorship Aspirants at the party National Secretariat in Abuja on the 22nd of June 2022, 4 days after he claimed under oath as seen in the evidence attached to Jandor’s petition to the tribunal.
Some lawyers that looked at the breakdown of the petition gave Jandor kudos for doing a thorough job capable of disqualifying Sanwo-Olu and Labour Party candidate at the tribunal.
Analysts believe that Jandor did a yeoman’s job and with experienced Lawyers, Sanwo-Olu may just be on his way out of the government house if the case is properly decided.
Jandor came third in the election with 62,449 votes, behind the duo of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party.
Sanwo-Olu scored 762,134 votes to edge out the LP candidate who got 312,329 votes.
Before the elections, Jandor had expressed confidence in winning, irrespective of the antics of the ruling party or enemies within. He declared that no candidate including the incumbent Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had ever worked like he had done in the electioneering, going to meet people in various communities across the 245 wards in the state.
Bolstered by this and the reception he was getting from fans, he took the offensive. Addressing newsmen sometime at his campaign office in Ikeja, the 45-year-old Adediran said he was in the race to win and bring in a breath of fresh air.
According to him, “We know they (APC) have been collecting Permanent Voter Cards, PVC, from the electorate to manipulate the polls’ result. But we are assuring them they will meet their waterloo this time.
“They (APC) do not have the monopoly of madness. Machinery has been put in place to check for any fraudulent moves. We will protect our votes from polling to collation centres.
“This election is to send the ruling APC packing. Remain steadfast, and calm down because the battle is of the Lord. We will win this election.
He urged his fans not to succumb to their threats, and intimidation, adding, “We will protect our votes. Our votes will count this time, come out en-masse to exercise your rights.”
The weeks leading to the elections came with much turbulence for Jandor with allegations of rape, stepping down for other candidates, his campaign DG who’s a personal assistant to Chief Bode left for LP on the instruction of his Boss, as well as perceived backstabbing by trusted members of his party.
Jandor believed that the campaign of calumny and machinations were orchestrated by members of the opposing party who saw his rising profile and wants to pull him down by all means.
He told the media in one of his briefings: “We are all aware of the whirlwind in the polity towards this governorship polls in Lagos as a result of activities of some godfathers in PDP and APC who are bent on subverting the wishes of the majority.
“It is about the candidate that has been everywhere to see things for himself. It is about time that we elected a governor that is not tied to the apron of any godfather.
“We are here stating that all the rumours that are out there purportedly being sold by some people in some quarters is nothing but false.
“Lagos PDP is not in alliance with any political party. As the candidate of the party, I have not stepped down for anybody, we are not stepping down for anybody, and we are not going to step down for anybody.
“There has not been any formal meeting between Lagos PDP and any political party as such to say that we are on a round-table discussing alliance,” he said.
“The leaders have been beating the drums of war for the last few weeks with provocative statements, harassment, and propaganda. But am sure all these will soon subside. God has exposed them as they are beating the drums of war.
Jandor however weathered storm, bearing the burden without shaking. The PDP candidate stressed that he ran the governorship campaign without any support from the party.
“We went into this election against all odds and even against some of our leaders within the PDP. Some respected leaders, supposedly, in the party had to leave us for crumbs.
“ I didn’t get a single money from the party at the state or national level after February 25 presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“We stayed behind to see this to the last. Even when some left the party to form a false alliance, we stood our ground to see this to fruition.
“I want to commend the people of Lagos, all loyal PDP leaders who stayed to see that the election came to a logical conclusion.
Analysts believe that Jandor, who hails from the Ojo/Badagry division, is a better alternative to replacing Sanwo-Olu who many see as a lackey, lily livered and a non performer.
Besides, his division is seen to have been marginalized all these years by the APC government. He promised to work for its development, to erase years of neglect by successive administrations in Lagos.
Adediran is his familiarisation tour urged the artisans and people living with disabilities to vote for PDP candidates at all levels in the state, stressing that the ruling party and their candidates have failed Lagosians.
Barnabas Abiodun Raji, the leader of the People Living with Disabilities, and Kola Alatise, the chairman of Coalition of Artisans in Badagry, pledged the support of their members for the gubernatorial bid of Jandor and his running mate, Olufunke Akindele.
Also, Jandor in an interactive session with the league of Pastors in Igbede/Iyana axis of Ojo Council, yesterday, said that the state needed a breath of fresh air that would make it work for all and sundry.
According to him, the Badagry Division, where Ojo LGA is also located, has suffered long neglect, hence the need to support him as an indigene of Ojo LGA, to change the story of the division for the better.
Promising free and compulsory education, security and massive infrastructural development, Adediran said that he would ensure that the wealth of the state worked for the residents, especially the masses.
While at the palace of the Royal Majesty, Elekunpa of Ekunpa Kingdom, Oba Abu Kazeem Kosoko in Ojo Council, Jandor promised never to let the traditional institutions down.
He told the Oba that he would run a government of the masses that everyone would be proud of.
His running mate Funso Akindele also helped to enhance the saleability of Jandor to the people especially the women. Akindele said that their administration would give women opportunities and ensure total inclusiveness.
Akindele said that Jandor would implement 35 per cent affirmative action for women if elected.
Also speaking during a visit to a coalition of artisans and physically challenged people in the Agamadeh part of Badagry, Jandor promised to set up a ministry for the physically challenged in the state and it would be headed by one of them.
“I want to appeal to all of us that this election is about giving Lagos a breath of fresh air. It is about time we did something else in the state.
Analysts believe that the outcome of the court case by Jandor will be a make or mar for the APC government in the state.