Lagos Election Tribunal: What happened in court on Tuesday

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The Lagos State governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Tuesday, heard the testimony of Chief Owolabi Salis, Governorship Candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) for Lagos State in the 2019 General Elections, against Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

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Salis and his Labour Party counterpart, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, had filed petitions against Sanwo-Olu, challenging his victory at the March 9 gubernatorial election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos had ordered the tribunal sitting in Ikeja to resume hearing of the petitions filed by the two candidates.

A five-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Hussein Mukthar upturned the June 17, 2019, decision of the tribunal which dismissed petitions by Salis and Awamaridi on grounds on abandonment and failing to file an application for pre-hearing conference within seven days as prescribed by the law.

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The appellate court held that the tribunal failed to check its own record of proceedings giving the verdicts.

During proceedings on Tuesday, Salis told the tribunal that Sanwo-Olu’s election was fraudulent.

He urged the tribunal to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the original copies of receipts of payments for documents he sought to tender in evidence.

His prayer followed a claim by Sanwo-Olu’s counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), that there was no evidence of payment for certification of the documents which included nomination form and an affidavit.

“It is evident that the witness is not the maker of the documents neither is he the addressee of the memorandum sought to be tendered.

“He is not the deponent of the affidavit sought to be tendered neither did he complete the form sought to be tendered.

“We urge the court to disregard the petitioner’s application.

“There is no aura of authority to show that the purportedly tendered documents emanated from INEC.

However, Salis said that he paid for the documents and urged the tribunal to discountenance the respondent’s submission.

“It is mischevious and misconstrued, it is either the respondent says that the documents emanated from INEC or not.

“I believe the court will compel INEC to bring the receipts of all the documents paid for.

“It is our right, we paid for them and they cannot sabotage us,” he said.

Salis prayed the tribunal to cancel what he described as fraudulent election of Sanwo-Olu, claiming that the election was characterised by irregularities.

Proceedings in the tribunal will continue on Aug. 21.