The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, has tendered some documents before the State’s Election Petition Tribunal in a bid to prove that he thoroughly filled out the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) form EC9 which contains his full personal information as the party’s candidate as well as the Oath that was taken on the nomination form.
The documents were tendered by counsel for the governor and his deputy, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Muiz Banire, through his witness, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Fouad Oki.
Other documents tendered and admitted through the same witness were the Nigerian and American passports for the deputy governor.
The candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is challenging the victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 governorship poll.
He is also challenging the eligibility of Mr Hamzat to contest on the ground that he allegedly swore allegiance to the United States of America.
The petitioner also claims that the omission of the Oath page in Form EC9 of the 3rd respondent (Mr Obafemi Hamzat), submitted by his party, the APC, showed it was not endorsed by the Commissioner for Oaths within the time prescribed by the Electoral Law 2022 and that without the oath page, the entire form EC9 and the information contained in it are worthless.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Monday before the three-member tribunal, Banire also tendered some documents containing the certified true copies of INEC form EC8C titled:
“Summary of result from registration areas, collation at local government area levels, a copy of form EC8D titled: Summary of results from local government areas collation at State Level and also, a copy of form EC8E titled: Declaration of result.”
During cross examination by APC’s lead Counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Abiodun Owonikoko, Hon. Oki told the tribunal that he witnessed when the Governor and his Deputy were filling the INEC form EC9 which contains the personal information of the party’s candidates as well as the Oaths that was taken on their nomination forms.
He said that the oaths were taken at the Ikeja High Court registry while also confirming that both men paid the prescribed fees and signed the oath.
“I witnessed when the 3rd respondent was filling the form as well as the oath that was taken on the nomination form at the Ikeja High Court registry. They paid the fees, we thought it would be free being government officials. but the Commissioner for Oaths said since they are signing in their personal capacity, they must pay.”
The witness sought to tender the declaration page of the form EC9 and the receipts, through the APC’s counsel. But the counsel for the Labour Party’s candidate, Idowu Benson objected to the admissibility, saying he would reserve his reasons till the stage of final addresses by all counsel. The tribunal admitted the documents provisionally, pending the stage when it will hear the objection on its merits.
After his evidence, the tribunal discharged the witness and Mr Banire announced that his clients would be closing their case.
Consequently, Justice Arum Ashom has adjourned further hearing in the petition till July 11, 2023, for the APC to open its defence.