Attention is shifting to Lagos, where the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the March 18th Lagos gubernatorial election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour has sustained efforts to upturn the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu presenting witnesses and evidence before the Lagos state Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday. His legal counsel, Dr Olumide Ayeni, presented 30 boxes of
Attention is shifting to Lagos, where the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the March 18th Lagos gubernatorial election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour has sustained efforts to upturn the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu presenting witnesses and evidence before the Lagos state Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday. His legal counsel, Dr Olumide Ayeni, presented 30 boxes of INEC forms EC8 A&B, EC9, EC40A, EC40G, BIVAS report, and other relevant sheets as evidence to the Tribunal.
The petitioner was allowed to present four witnesses to the tribunal after the Court had allowed the four respondents, who are; Independent National Electoral Commission, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat, and the All Progressives Congress, to access the marked exhibit filed against them.
At the trial hearing presided over by Justice Arum Igyen, the first witness, Sylvester Obinna, who identified himself as the polling unit agent supervisor in the 23 polling units, Ilupeju Industrial Estate, accused the All Progressives Congress of rigging the governorship election by allowing some of their supporters to cast multiple ballots without accreditation.
Mr. Obinna also informed the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission had broken election regulations based on reports from his agents at various polling places in the ward. He claimed the commission failed to transmit the election results to the INEC Results Viewing Portals (IREV) after collating the results.
Additionally, he claimed that the APC broke electoral laws by campaigning in party uniform at polling places. However, he insisted that INEC staff members were not complicit in the alleged rigging, despite the fact that the commission declared the APC the victor in the ward.
Mr Obinna also gave an extra statement about the assault that took place in polling units 04, 05 and 16 which he was a victim. However, he told the court that he did not include his assault case in his written statement.
Another witness, Adeyemi Joseph Kayode, told the tribunal that he oversaw the coalition exercise in Fadeyi, Ward 7, Mushin and gave his testimony in line with the INEC form EC8A tendered by the petitioner, which indicated that there were 50 polling units in his ward
He insisted that there was manipulation of the voting exercise in the ward, stating that only APC members were allowed by the hoodlums to vote in the ward. He also added that APC members were allowed to cast multiple votes at their respective polling units.
Mr Kayode further told the tribunal that even when he could not be present at all polling units at the same time, some of his agents reported that some INEC officials were caught on video collecting bribes to manipulate the outcome of the elections.
Also, the other two witnesses testified to voter suppression, vote buying and vote manipulations in their respective wards. They also added that the incidents at the polling unit were spearheaded by the supporters of All Progressives Congress.
The witness also alleged that only Yoruba voters were allowed to cast their votes at the polling units, while the other tribes were forcefully evicted from the polling centers. He also noted that despite his refusal to sign the form A75 document, he admitted to the signatures of the Labour Party agents on exhibits A1, A2, A3, A30, and A49.
Reacting to the document and the witness’s testimonies, Bode Olaonipekun, the counsel for the 2nd respondent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat objected to the admissibility of the documents presented by the petitioner.
Mr Olaonipekun also argued that the witness could not have provided information about all polling units at the same time, adding that his other objection will be provided in the final statement of address.
Charles Edosomwan, the attorney for the first respondent, INEC, also refuted the second witness’ assertion that only members of the Yoruba tribe were permitted to cast ballots in his ward during the election. He further objected that a witness cannot identify an individual’s tribe by merely looking at them, saying that it is a conjecture.
In the same vein, Norrisson Quakers, the counsel of the 4th respondent, also agreed with the 2nd respondent, saying that he would present his objection in the final address.
Following the request of Gbadebo’s lawyer to the tribunal to order the respondents’ counsels to examine the evidence presented together, the court asked them to wait for an hour to sort the documents together.