- APC, Sanwoolu, INEC Called no Witness, Presented no counter Evidence
- APC feel their Lawyers are compromised
The Lagos Governorship Election Tribunal hearing the Petition of Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi & Labour Party, on 12-9-2019, adjourned for Judgement, after the Petitioners and the Respondents adopted their written addresses and the Tribunal adopted the Case.
Of a unique note however is that all the Respondents did not call any Witness, neither did they present any Evidence to counter the facts established by the Petitioners.
In legal Parlance, this is tantamount to “hands up”, i.e. submission to the Facts Presented by the Petitioners.
The Petitioners called over 20 witnesses (including sopeoned witnesses), of which only 6 were allowed by the Tribunal, after opposition by that Respondents’ Lawyers.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Lagos West Vice Chairman, Barr. Chief Osinowo was one of the witnesses called by the Petitioner, Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi & Labour Party.
The PDP leader, while testifying, confirmed that the Election was not free & fair, but for administrative and logistic reasons did not approach the Tribunal. He also brought to the Tribunal their agent copies of result sheets, from which a lot of irregular & corrupt practices were proved.
The Respondents’ Lawyers were so aggressive that the APC Lawyer, Victor Opara repeatedly made one of the Labour Party agents who was a witness to sign his signature many times, but the whole court busted into resounding ovation for the witness, when Victor bursted into laughter because he could not pick any error in any of the signatures.
The Petitioner, Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi, who was also a witness, “reinvigorated the appropriateness and veracity of the Petition from the day he entered the dock. He seized the opportunity of the deep and aggressive cross examination of the Respondents’ lawyers to firmly establish the grounds of the Petition, turning most of the cross examinations to proofs and indictment against the Petitioners.
The Tribunal had hitherto, dismissed the Petition, claiming it was abandoned, that the pre trial notice was filed out of time.
However, on appeal by Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi & Labour Party, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, ruled that the Petition was not abandoned, as the Tribunal’s own record itself, shows that the pre trial notice was filed within time, and should go ahead with the trial expeditiously.
Of Special not is that, The Court of Appeal ferociously lampooned and condemned the Tribunal by making such statements as,
“…Contrariwise, the trial tribunal, with due difference, insulted the law when it held that the appellants’ application for the issuance of Pre-hearing Notice fell outside the time calendar provided by the provision of paragraph 18(1) of the First Schedule.”
” The trial tribunal, fractured the law when it dismissed the appellants’ petition on the footing of abandonment. It will smell of judicial sacrilege to allow such an injudicious exercise to stand. In sum, I will not hesitate to resolve the issue two in favour of the appellants and against the Respondents.”
Though the APC & Sanwoolu filed appeal against the Court of Appeal Ruling in the Supreme Court, the hearing ordered by the Court of Appeal proceeded in the Tribunal. By the time the hearing commenced, two of the Tribunal Judges apart from the Chairman had been replaced.
Surprisingly however, after the Erudite Witness of Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi, The Respondents, discovering that it will be scandalously fraudulent to influence the Tribunal’s decision against the Petitioners, Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi & Labour Party, had a meeting with INEC, and INEC suddenly filed another Appeal in the Supreme Court.
Most surprising, is that, in the midst of confusion, some members of the APC camp alleged that Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi has compromised the Respondents’ Lawyers. They can not phantom why despite the “huge wherewithal” made available to the lawyers and the Tribunal, The Petition has not been subverted.
The Prayers and demand of the Petitioners, Prince [Prof.] Ifagbemi Awamaridi & Labour Party are that,
the 2019 Lagos Governorship Election should be nullified, Babajide Sanwoolu, the APC candidate should be disqualified, a fresh Election should be conducted and the Voters’ register should be sanitized.