LAGOS WEST: SOLOMON FLOORS SALVADOR AT TRIBUNAL

Filed in News by on October 2, 2011

Lagos West: Solomon floors Salvador at tribunal
By OMONIYI SALAUDEEN
Sunday, October 02, 2011

Senator Ganiyu Solomon, a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) representing Lagos West Senatorial District, on Friday finally smiled home with a victory at the National Assembly- Election Petition Tribunal.

The tribunal headed by Justice Maurice Eneji threw out a petition filed against Solomon by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the April general election, Moshood Adegoke Salvador.
Salvador had urged the panel to declare him winner of the poll having secured the highest number of valid votes cast. But the tribunal in its ruling summarily dismissed the petition on the ground that it was fundamentally defective and not in compliance with the Electoral Act.

The petitioner had through his lawyer, Mr. M. J. Onigbagbe, alleged that the election was not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010. The first and second respondents in the petition were the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Returning Officer respectively.

In a preliminary objection filed by the Counsel to Solomon, Professor Yemi Osibajo (SAN), former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction. He stated that the petitioner failed in the plea that the alleged non-compliance complained of substantially affected the result of the election. He also argued that the petition did not contain a specific prayer for the nullification of the election of 3rd respondent as required by section 139 (1) of the Electoral Act.
Unless otherwise decided by the Court of Appeal, the latest ruling of the tribunal has finally put to rest months of litigation battle against the election of Solomon.

But as they say in law, it is not over until it is over. In line with the Electoral Act, the petitioner still has the right to seek further redress at the Appeal Court if unsatisfied with the judgment of the tribunal. But time is of essence here because according to section 134 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, “an election tribunal shall deliver its judgment on a case within 180 days (six months) from the date of the filing of the petition, while an appeal from a decision of an election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days (two months) from the date of the delivery of judgment of the tribunal.”

Solomon is one of the ranking senators in the senate. He succeeded Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi in 2007, having completed his term as a member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Mushin Federal Constituency 1. Until the recent inauguration of new committee members by the senate President, David Mark, Solomon was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market. And he commands goodwill within the ACN members in Lagos State for his vibrant contributions to the law-making process in the senate. And as he consolidates his hold on his seat at the upper chamber, the hope is that he would be able to give more attention to his primary responsibility-lawmaking.

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