Judiciary News

Rhodes-Vivour Closes Case Before Election Tribunal

Mr  Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party  Governorship Candidate who was contesting the  victory of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday closed its case before the Election Tribunal siting in Ikeja.

Rhodes-Vivour is challenging the victory of Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 Governorship election.

He is also challenging the eligibility of  Hazmat 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, Mr Idowu Benson informed the three-justice tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom that the petitioner was closing his case.

Ten witnesses had 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 to the fourth  respondent, All Progressives Congress (APC)  before the Tribunal.

All the counsel to 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 record.

“It is not a document before this tribunal.

“It is only a document signed by the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 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  thereafter informed the tribunal that he would pick  a date to open their defense while commending the petitioner for closing its case.

The tribunal ordered that the first respondent open its case on the next adjourned date but he prayed 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 witness,  I can not 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

Counsel to Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN) also commended the petitioner for closing its case while t stating that they should have taken the wise retreat earlier.

Quakers also stated that the court was taken by surprise as they did not expect Rhodes-Vivour would close his case early.

The  proceedings was stalled on Monday due to health reasons of LP witness.

The tribunal had on Monday adjourned the proceedings 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 as he became indisposed before proceedings commenced.

The tribunal adjourned till July 5 for   INEC to open its case.

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