By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The election of the member of the House of Representatives representing Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal Constituency in Lagos, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been upheld by the state’s Court of Appeal in Igbosere.
The Presiding Justice of the Lagos Division, Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba ruled in favour of Hon. Kolawole’s election faulting the case of his opponent from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Rita Orji for lack of merit.
The Court of Appeal upheld the cancellation of the 23rd February, 2019 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the declaration of Hon. Kolawole Taiwo as the winner of the rerun election that took place on 27th April.
Justice Garba affirmed all the judgements of the tribunal dismissing all grounds canvassed by the appellant; Hon. Rita Orji.
Counsel to the Independent Electoral Commission(INEC), Mr. Tijani Ishola cited the lessons from the decision of the court stating that it was an important litigation.
“It is a lesson to all of us that there should be an end to litigations, our client, INEC has been very careful in doing what is just as an unbiased umpire, but a lot of politicians will now see things differently.
“By this judgement I believe strongly that any other tribunal sitting anywhere in Nigeria will use this opportunity of the judgement delivered at the Court of Appeal as a precedent and nobody will just run to the tribunal for the fun of it. You have to think twice before you go to tribunal,” Ishola reiterated.
Counsel to the second and third respondents; Hon. Kolawole Taiwo and the APC, Mr. Femi Davosta Oshinowo gave a recap of the proceeding.
“I think justice has been done and I would like to say that our electoral law has been further enriched.
“The judges also admitted all our grounds of Appeal because it was obvious that all the evidences tendered to the tribunal were hashed by their counsel for all the witnesses.
“It was obvious that they all said the same thing and which of course did not indicate what happened in the respective polling units,” he said.
An elated Hon. Kolawole Taiwo, who was greeted by the warm embrace of his loyal followers all around the court premises expressed his appreciation over the victory noting that his olive branch is still stretched out to his opponent Hon. Rita Orji despite the long dragged litigations.
“I am fulfilled. I give thanks and adoration to God because all victory belongs to God and when you are considered worthy enough by God to have victory you should be humbled.
“I also thank my people for their support and prayer from day one till this very end. They have been very committed and steadfast to this course believing that nobody can steal our mandate,” he said.
He also emphasized the need for people to have the spirit of sportsmanship, while contesting for political offices.
“I don’t know what we are looking for in power, if what we are looking for in power is the development of our area through the people’s support, when your contestant is saying come let’s join hands, let’s make this place develop I feel that is humane enough.
“I also lost a very critical election, which could have made me the Speaker of the Lagos Assembly. I didn’t go to court, I left everything to God believing he alone can give and whatever he has given nobody can take.
“Rita is my sister and I will always be a man from Ajegunle. I am from Ajegunle, I can never turn my back on any AJ person, no matter the tribe.
“My mum would always tell me that someone who did something painful to you today could do something soothing tomorrow.
“We must change the narrative and I am not going to rest on my oars until we are able to achieve it,” Taiwo submitted.
Taiwo was Deputy Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly between 2011-2015.