The Lagos State Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on Tuesday closed his case against the victory of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 election before the election tribunal sitting in Ikeja.
The Labour Party governorship candidate is also challenging Hazmat’s eligibility to contest on the grounds that he allegedly renounced his Nigerian citizenship and swore allegiance to the United States of America.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the petitioner’s counsel, Mr. Idowu Benson, informed the three-justice tribunal headed by Arum Ashom that the petitioner was closing his case.
Ten witnesses testified in the petition of the LP candidate.
The counsel also tendered a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the INEC Form EC9—an affidavit containing the particulars of a candidate—which was hand-filled by Hamzat and had been front-loaded by the counsel for the fourth respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC), before the tribunal.
The petitioner’s document was not admissible, according to all of the counsel for the four respondents.
The tribunal, however, admitted the document into evidence and marked it as Exhibit PE713.
The APC counsel, Mr. Noris Quakers (SAN), said the CTC tendered by the petitioner was warehoused by the first respondent and did not form part of the court records.
“It is not a document before this tribunal.
“It is only a document signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission that can be tendered.
“We will further argue why this document should not be admitted in the final written address,” he said.
The INEC counsel, Mr. Eric Obigor, informed the tribunal that he would pick a date to open their defense while commending the petitioner for closing his case.
The tribunal ordered that the first respondent open his case on the next adjourned date, but he prayed to the court for more time to put his house in order.
“We will be taking a date to open our case and commend the petitioner for closing its case even though it was unexpected.
“At the moment, for me to secure the attendance of my witnesses, I cannot get them by tomorrow.
“I will need to do consultations with the stakeholders of my client.
“A day will enable me to put my house in order,” Obigor said.
Counsel to Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Mr. Bode Olanipekun (SAN), also commended the petitioner for closing its case while stating that they should have taken the wise retreat earlier.
The tribunal had adjourned the proceedings on Monday due to the ill health of a witness scheduled to testify in favor of Rhodes-Vivour.
Benson had mentioned that the witness was in court but had to leave for treatment before proceedings commenced.
The tribunal adjourned until July 5 for INEC to open its defense.