The Labour Party (LP)’s governorship candidate in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on Tuesday, closed his case before the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Rhodes-Vivour is challenging the victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 governorship poll.
He is also challenging the eligibility of the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat to contest on 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, Idowu Benson, informed the three-man Tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom that the petitioner was closing his case.
Ten witnesses in all had testified in the petition of the LP candidate.
The counsel also tendered a Certified True Copy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s 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 4th Respondent (the All Progressives Congress) before the Tribunal.
All the counsel for the four respondents objected to the admissibility of the document tendered by the petitioner.
Norrison Quakers (SAN), who represented the APC, said the CTC tendered by the petitioner was warehoused by the first respondent (INEC) and does not form part of the court records.
He said, “It is not a document before this tribunal, it is only a document signed by INEC that can be tendered. We will further argue on why this document should not be admitted in our final written address.”
After hearing the objections raised by the respondents, Justice Ashon admitted the document and marked it as exhibit PE713.
Upon the close of the petitioner’s case, the first respondent’s counsel, Eric Ogiegor applied for a date to open their defense.
He said, “We will be taking a date to open our case and commend the petitioner for closing its case even though it was unexpected.”
Counsel for Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Bode Olanipekun (SAN), also commended the petitioner for closing its case whilst stating that they should have taken the wise retreat earlier.
The tribunal adjourned till July 5, 2023 for INEC to open its defence.