The All Progressives Congress has presented a witness to close its defense against the petition filed by AbdulAzeez Babajide Adediran, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in the Lagos state governorship election, in which he is challenging the victory of the poll’s winner, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat. Mr Abdulazeez has petitioned the outcome
The All Progressives Congress has presented a witness to close its defense against the petition filed by AbdulAzeez Babajide Adediran, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in the Lagos state governorship election, in which he is challenging the victory of the poll’s winner, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
Mr Abdulazeez has petitioned the outcome of the March 18 election which saw the APC candidate as the winner on the ground that the governor presented a forged WAEC certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission during his registration to contest for the position of the state governor.
He also claimed that the state’s deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, swore an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, rendering his Nigerian citizenship null and void. He also accused the APC of not following proper procedure before nominating its candidate to run for office.
The petition’s respondents include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and the Labour Party (LP).
The APC’s legal counsel, Babatunde Ogalla (SAN), presented Mr Fouad Oki, the party chieftain, as his witness before the three-member tribunal led by Justice Arum Ashom upon the resumption of the proceedings. The APC’s counsel tendered the certified true copy of the Oath page from Form EC9, which showed the registration process of the APC candidate and his deputy, to the INEC. He asked the tribunal to adopt his testimony before the tribunal.
In his cross-examination, the lawyer for the petitioner, Mr Clement Onwuenwenor (SAN) asked the witness if he was given a letter of appointment to serve as APC state collation officer during the election, he told the court that such position does not have provision for letter of appointment.
Confirming that Mr Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Dr Hamzat were the legitimate flagbearers of the party in the governorship elections, the APC chieftain also affirmed that they submitted their form EC9 and CF001 to INEC to complete their registration to contest the poll.
The witness was asked by Mr. Clement Onwuenwenor if he was aware of the consequences of giving false information while under oath, including the oath taken by the 2nd and 3rd respondents, and he replied in the affirmative.
In his cross-examination by the lawyer for the second and third respondents, Saheed Sanusi SAN, questioned the witness if he could acknowledged that after completing the INEC form EC9 online, a separate copy of the Oath page is uploaded.
He was also asked to confirm that the petitioner’s name was published on the INEC list of candidates, which also contained the names of the second and third respondents.
Following this, the attorneys for Mr. Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Hamzat further submitted a CTC of an oath page from form EC9 and a treasury receipt of the third respondent’s sworn oath, which was accepted as exhibits by the tribunal in a ruling over the objections of the petitioner, fifth, and sixth respondents.
Olagbade Benson, the counsel to the fifth respondent in the petition, in his cross-examination (Gbadebo Rhode-Vivour), the witness mentioned that a valid candidate’s name can only be published by the Independent National Electoral Commission when his form EC9 is submitted.
To further buttress his point, the learned counsel presented exhibits R10-R15, which is the INEC list of all candidates that contested in the state governorship election, asking if the witness would agree that all candidates must have been validated by the electoral commission before their names were published, and the witness responded in the affirmativve. He also asked him to confirm the name of his client, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivous in the document, which he did.
Without re-examination, Babatunde Ogalla however, closed his defence and asked that his witness be discharged.
APC Closes Defence Against GRV
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress has closed its defence against the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the March 18, 2023 election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The respondents in the petition are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat; and the All Progressives Congress
Mr. Rhodes-Vivour, who finished second in the March elections, is contesting Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s victory on the grounds that the APC candidate was ineligible to run for office due to corrupt practices or a failure to comply with the Electoral Act of 2022 and the Constitution.
The petitioner also questions the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat,’s eligibility to run for office, claiming that he renounced his Nigerian citizenship and swore allegiance to the United States of America.
The APC’s legal representative, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), introduced the same witness, Fouad Oki, who produced a downloaded document from the Nigerian Immigration Service outlining the procedure for renunciation of Nigerian citizenship, which can only be approved by the President of the nation.
Additionally, the witness tendered a report from Punch online, a string of tweets, and a YouTube video that was downloaded to a flash drive showing allegedly Labour Party supporters threatening to use dogs to chase APC supporters away from polling places on election day.
Only the counsel for the petitioner, ldowu Benson objected to the admissibility of the witness’ electronic documents as exhibits, saying he would fully adduce his reasons during the stage of final addresses.
In light of the objections, the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Arum Ashom, provisionally admitted the documents.
During cross-examination, Mr Benson’s asked the witness if his party has any cross petition before the court, he told the tribunal that APC doesn’t have a cross-petition before the tribunal.
Under cross-examination by counsel for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hazmat, Bode Olaonipekun (SAN), the witness claimed that under the Electoral Act (2022), candidates fill out nomination forms (INEC Form EC9) online and swear their oaths before a Commissioner for Oaths.
In response to Mr. Olaonipekun, the witness added that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s name was simultaneously published on the INEC list of candidates along with Mr. Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hazmat Hamzat.
The witness added in response to Mr. Olaonipekun that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s name was also made public at the same time that Mr. Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hazmat Hamzat’s names were.
He also stated that anyone who is not a Nigerian or has renounced his citizenship is not eligible for a Nigerian passport.
APC Primary Committee Chairman Defends Sanwo-Olu’s Candidacy
Prior to that, the APC candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu introduced to the tribunal the former Borno State Deputy Governor Adamu Shettima Yuguda Dibal, who served as the party’s chairman of the Lagos state governorship primary election, which was held on May 26, 2022, and ended with his victory.
Abdulazeez Adediran also known as Jandor, a candidate for the People’s Democratic Party in the March 18, 2023, Lagos state governorship election, started the petition contesting Governor Sanwo-Olu’s election victory.
Jandor accused the governor of presenting the Independent National Electoral Commission with a forged WAEC certificate.The petitioner also accused the deputy governor, Obafemi Hazmat, of failing to include his oath of declaration in his INEC Nomination Form (EC9), and the APC of failing to follow the Electoral Act when nominating both men.
The sole witness for the defence team of Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Bode Olanipekun (SAN), testified before the three-member tribunal presided over by Justice Arum Ashom. He claimed that Cornelius Ojelabi, the chairman of the APC in Lagos State, did not break any electoral laws when he wrote to the INEC chapter in Lagos to inform it of the party’s primary election.
When the candidate for the PDP’s candidate, Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN), questioned the witness during cross-examination about whether Mr. Ojelabi was the national chairman of the APC on May 24 when he wrote the aforementioned letter, the witness responded in the negative.
Mr Dibal was questioned further,if it is the national working committee that conducts primaries or state, he responded that by APC’s guidelines, is it the national or state office that conducts a governorship primary election, it is the national working committee that sets up the states’ committees who will then conduct the primary election in all the 36 states.”
During more cross-examination by the APC counsel, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), the chieftain after being shown the said letter which is now an exhibit before the tribunal, explained that Mr Ojelabi was only informing the INEC Lagos office that the NWC had constituted a five-member committee to conduct the primary, in which he was the chairman.
He also said he Produced a report on the primary election to the national secretariat of the APC after the exercise, adding that the report of the primary election was signed unanimously by all members of the committee
In his response to question asked by INEC’s counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), the former deputy governor of Borno state said representatives from INEC’s headquarters and its Lagos office were present during the primary election, and that they signed a report on its conduct afterwards.
“Yes, they were
And they all signed the report
Look at the portion signed by INEC Lagos, who led the teamAkanni Gabriel Abidakun.” He said.
In the absence of cross examination by both counsel representing the Labour Party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, Justice Ashom thereafter discharged the witness,