Lagos State Governor, Babajide SanwoOlu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat on Tuesday presented their sole witness, Adamu Shettima Yuguda Dibal at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in their defence of the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Olajide Adediran popularly known as Jandor.
Dibal is a former Borno State Deputy Governor who chaired the Lagos State governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on May 26, 2022 which produced Sanwo-Olu as the candidate.
He told the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom that the Lagos State APC Chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi did not flout any electoral regulation when he wrote to the state chapter of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to notify it of the party’s primary election.
In the petition filed by Adediran and his party, the PDP, the petitioners listed two grounds of appeal to the effect that Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat were at the time of the election not qualified to contest.
Adediran also stated that the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who was declared by the 1st respondent, INEC as having scored the second highest number of votes was, at the time of the election also not qualified to contest.
The PDP governorship candidate said he is calling for the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) candidates in the election for “non-compliance” with the Electoral Act 2022 as well as the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He had also alleged that the governor presented a forged WAEC certificate to INEC.
The petitioner also accused Hazmat of swearing allegiance to another country and not including his oath of declaration in his INEC Nomination Form (EC9), and that the APC did not comply with the Electoral Act when nominating both men.
The petitioner who emerged third in the election, closed his petition last week after presenting oral and documentary evidence.
INEC, who is the first respondent, has also closed its defence in the petition.
Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, APC; Rhodes-Vivour, and the LP are listed as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th respondent respectively.
At the resumption of proceedings Tuesday, the counsel representing Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Bode Olanipekun (SAN) presented his sole witness, Adamu Dibal.
The witness defended the conduct of the APC primaries before the three-member tribunal led by Justice Ashom.
Under cross-examination, counsel to the PDP’s candidate, Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN), asked the witness whether Ojelabi was the national chairman of the APC as of May 24 when he authored the letter to INEC notifying it of the party’s primary election. The witness answered in the negative.
Mr Dibal was also asked whether, “By APC’s guidelines, it is the national or state office that conducts a governorship primary election?”
The witness said it is the “National Working Committee that sets up the states’ committees who will then conduct the primary election in all the 36 states.”
While answering questions under cross-examination from the APC counsel, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), Dibal after being shown the said letter which is now an exhibit before the tribunal, explained that Mr Ojelabi was only informing the INEC Lagos office that the NWC had constituted a five-member committee to conduct the primary, in which he (the witness) was the chairman.
He also said he produced a report on the primary election to the national secretariat of the APC after the exercise.
Mr Ogala asked,
“Is that a copy of the report marked as p139-144?
And it was signed by all members of the committee?
Was it a unanimous agreement by all members?
In another round of cross-examination by INEC’s counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), Mr Dibal said representatives from INEC’s headquarters and its Lagos office were present during the primary election, and that they signed a report on its conduct afterwards.
“Were officers from INEC headquarters and the state office present at the primary?
– Yes, they were
And they all signed the report?
Look at the portion signed by INEC Lagos, who led the team?
-Akanni Gabriel Abidakun.”
There was no cross-examination by counsel representing the Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The tribunal thereafter discharged the witness, and subsequently adjourned to Wednesday, July 12 for the APC to open its defence.
Source: CHANNELS TV