Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Lagos State Labour Party governorship candidate, closed his appeal against Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s victory in the March 18 election before the election tribunal in Ikeja on Tuesday.
According to reports, Gbadebo is also contesting the legitimacy of Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat to run on the grounds that he abandoned his Nigerian citizenship and swore loyalty to the United States of America.
The petitioner’s counsel, Idowu Benson, informed the three-member Tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom at the resumed hearing on Tuesday that the petitioner was ending his case.
In total, ten witnesses testified in the LP candidate’s petition.
The counsel also tendered a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the INEC Form EC9 – an affidavit containing the particulars of a candidate hand-filled by Hamzat and front-loaded before the tribunal by the counsel for the fourth respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The counsel for the four respondents all objected to the petitioner’s document being included.
The tribunal, on the other hand, admitted the paper into evidence and designated it as Exhibit PE713.
Mr Noris Quakers (SAN), counsel for the APC, stated that the CTC supplied by the petitioner was warehoused by the first respondent and did not form part of the court documents.
“It is not a document in front of this tribunal.”
“The only document that can be tendered is one signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
“We will argue further on why this document should not be admitted in the final written address,” he said.
Mr Eric Obigor, counsel for INEC, informed the tribunal that he would select a date to begin their defense while commending the petitioner for completing his case.
The tribunal ordered that the first respondent commence his case on the next adjourned date, but he requested additional time to get his affairs in order.
“We will set a date to begin our case and commend the petitioner for closing its case despite the fact that it was unexpected.”
“At the moment, I am unable to secure the attendance of my witness by tomorrow.”
“I will need to consult with my client’s stakeholders.”
“A day will enable me to put my house in order,” Obigor explained.
Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, also praised the petitioner for concluding its case while saying that they should have taken the sensible retreat sooner.
The panel postponed the opening of INEC’s defense until July 5.