Lagos Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat’s legal team have tendered some documents before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to prove that the Deputy Governor thoroughly filled out the Independent National Electoral Commission Form EC9, which contains his full personal information as the party’s candidate as well as the oath that was taken on the nomination form.
The documents were tendered by the Deputy Governor’s Lead Counsel, Muiz Banire, SAN, through a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Fuad Oki.
The Labour Party and its Governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, are challenging the victory of Governor Babajide SanwoOlu in the March 18 governorship poll.
The LP’s candidate is also challenging the eligibility of Mr Hamzat to contest on grounds that he allegedly renounced his Nigerian citizenship and swore allegiance to the United States of America.
The petitioner also claims the omission of the Oath page in Form EC9 of the 3rd respondent (Mr Obafemi Hamzat), submitted by his party, the All Progressives Congress, shows it was not endorsed by the Commissioner for Oaths within the time prescribed by the Electoral Law 2022 and that without the oath page, the entire form EC9 and the information contained are worthless.
The first to fourth respondents in the petition are INEC, Messrs SanwoOlu, Hamzat, and APC respectively.
At the resumed hearing of the matter before the three-member tribunal led by Justice Arum Ashom, the second and third respondents’ Counsel, Mr Banire tendered some documents containing the certified true copies of INEC form EC8C titled:
“Summary of result from registration areas, collation at local government area levels, a copy of form EC8D titled: Summary of results from local government areas collation at State Level and also, a copy of form EC8E titled: Declaration of result.”
During cross examination by APC’s lead Counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, Mr Oki told the tribunal that he witnessed when the second and third respondent were filling the INEC form EC9 which contains the personal information of the party’s candidates as well as the Oaths that was taken on their nomination forms.
He said the oaths were taken at the Ikeja High Court registry while also confirming that both men paid the prescribed fees and signed the oath.
“witnessed when the 3rd respondent was filling the form as well as the oath at was taken on the nomination form at the Ikeja High Court registry. They paid the fees, we thought it would be free being government officials. but the Commissioner for Oaths said since they are signing in their personal capacity, they must pay.”
“The two documents with no 003960120 and 00408841 contained the same facts and reflected the same receipt number,” he said.
The witness sought to tender the declaration page of the form EC9 and the receipts, through the APC’s counsel. But the counsel for the Labour Party’s candidate, Idowu Benson objected to the admissibility, saying he would reserve his reasons till the stage of final addresses by all counsel. The tribunal admitted the documents provisionally, pending the stage when it will hear the objection on its merits.
After his evidence, the tribunal discharged the witness and Mr Banire announced the second and third respondents would be closing their case.
Consequently, Justice Ashom adjourned the matter till July 11, 2023, for the APC to open its defence.