Lagos petition: Rhodes-Vivour closes case against Sanwo-Olu

The 2023 Lagos State Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on Tuesday, closed his case against the victory of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 election.

Rhodes-Vivour is also challenging the eligibility of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hazmat, 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 before the governorship election petition tribunal, Mr Idowu Benson, the petitioner’s counsel, told the three-justice tribunal headed by Arum Ashom that the petitioner was closing his case.

Ten witnesses had testified in the petition of the Labour Party 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, All Progressives Congress (APC), before the tribunal.

All the counsel for the four respondents objected to the admissibility of the document tendered by the petitioner.

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 a part of the court records.

“It’s not a document before this tribunal.

“It’s only a document signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission that can be tendered.

“We will further argue on why this document should not be admitted in the final written address,” he said.

The INEC counsel, Mr Eric Obigor, told the tribunal that he would pick a date to open their defence while commending the petitioner for closing his case.

The tribunal ordered that the first respondent should open his case on the next adjourned date, but he prayed to the court for more time to put his house in order.

On his part, 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.

NAN reports that the proceedings were stalled on Monday due to health reasons of the LP witness.

The tribunal, however, adjourned until July 5 for INEC to open its defence.