Supreme Court Upholds Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Election Victory

Supreme Court Upholds Governor Sanwo-Olu's Victory

Supreme Court Upholds Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Election Victory

In a landmark decision on Friday the 12th of January 2024, the Supreme Court solidified the electoral triumph of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State, dismissing two appeals challenging his victory in the governorship election held on March 18. The unanimous ruling, led by Justice Inyang Okoro and a five-member panel, declared the appeals by Labour Party’s Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and Peoples Democratic Party’s Abdulazeez Adediran, also known as Jandor, as lacking merit.

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The primary contention revolved around Sanwo-Olu’s eligibility to contest, specifically questioning whether his deputy and running mate, Obafemi Hamzat, possessing dual citizenship, rendered the governor constitutionally qualified. The appellants alleged that Hamzat, having obtained U.S. citizenship, made Sanwo-Olu’s candidacy invalid.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) collectively urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeals, highlighting that both the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had previously dismissed similar allegations.

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Justice Mohammed Garba Lawal, delivering the lead judgement, emphasized that there was no evidence supporting the claim that Hamzat renounced his Nigerian citizenship. The Supreme Court clarified that the restrictions outlined in Section 28 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, do not apply to individuals who are Nigerian citizens by birth. It further affirmed that the acquisition of citizenship through naturalization in another country does not strip a Nigerian citizen by birth of their status, rights, and privileges.

The apex court upheld the correctness of the Appeal Court’s decision, endorsing the tribunal’s ruling that both Sanwo-Olu and his deputy were not disqualified from participating in the governorship election. Consequently, the appeal by Rhodes-Vivour was dismissed on the grounds of lacking merit.

This ruling brings clarity to the legal challenges surrounding the election, solidifying Governor Sanwo-Olu’s legitimacy and reaffirming the electoral process in Lagos State. The Supreme Court’s comprehensive judgement emphasizes the importance of constitutional clarity and upholds the rights of Nigerian citizens by birth, contributing to the legal precedent on issues of dual citizenship in political candidacy.

Supreme Court Upholds Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Election Victory

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