During the recent hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer, Mr Idowu Benson, informed the tribunal, headed by Arum Ashom, that the petitioner had finished presenting his case. Ten witnesses had testified on behalf of the Labour Party candidate in the petition.
Additionally, the lawyer submitted a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the INEC Form EC9, an affidavit containing the candidate’s details. Hamzat had completed the form and previously submitted by the counsel for the fourth respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to the tribunal.
All the lawyers representing the four respondents objected to the admissibility of the petitioner’s document. However, the tribunal accepted the document as evidence and designated it Exhibit PE713.
Mr Noris Quakers (SAN), the counsel for the APC, argued that the first respondent stored the CTC provided by the petitioner and did not form part of the court records.
“It is not a document before this tribunal.
“It is 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.
Mr. Eric Obigor, representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), notified the tribunal that he would select a date to begin presenting their defense. He also commended the petitioner for concluding their case.
The tribunal directed the first respondent to commence their case on the adjourned date. However, the first respondent requested additional time to organize their affairs before proceeding.
“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 said.
The tribunal ordered the first respondent to commence their case on the next adjourned date. However, the first respondent requested additional time to organize their affairs before proceeding.
“We will select a date to open our case and express our appreciation to the petitioner for closing their case, although it was unexpected. At the moment, I am unable to secure the presence of my witness by tomorrow. I need to consult with my client’s stakeholders. A day will allow me to put everything in order,” Obigor stated.
Bode Olanipekun (SAN), the counsel representing Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, also commended the petitioner for closing their case and mentioned that they should have taken the wise decision to retreat earlier.
The proceedings on Monday were halted due to the health condition of a witness from the Labour Party (LP). The tribunal had adjourned the proceedings until July 5 because the witness, who was scheduled to testify in support of Rhodes-Vivour, had to leave for medical treatment before the proceedings began.
On July 5, the tribunal is scheduled to reconvene for INEC to present its defense.