Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his wife, Ibijoke, allegedly used invalid voter cards to cast their votes during the last 2023 governorship election in the state.
The allegation was made by a witness at the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom on Monday, June 26, Goldennewsng understands.
The witness, Dayo Isreal, who was subpoenaed to testify in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on the activities of the March 18 election, told the court that card reader used at Sanwo-Olu’s polling unit showed his card was invalid, but that the governor and his wife were allowed to go on with their voting.
While being led in evidence by the Rhodes-Vivour’s lead counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olumide Ayeni, the witness told the court that he served as an agent for the Labour Party for Unit 006, Ward 15, Lagos Island Local Government in the Governorship Election.
He said: “I observed that the card reader showed their cards to be invalid but Sanwo-Olu and his wife were allowed to cast their votes, which is against INEC’s electoral process.”
Under cross-examination from counsel to INEC, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Charles Edosomwan, the witness also claimed he was beaten up that day by some All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters and that he knew they were APC supporters from the way they spoke.
Israel said: “I am not a member of the Labour Party, but I was assigned as an agent. When the APC thugs recognised me as an LP agent, they beat me up. They also said if voters did not vote for APC, they would beat them too.”
When asked by counsel to Governor Sanwo-Olu & his deputy, Senior Advocate of Nigeria Muiz Banire, to describe how he was beaten. He added, “During casting of votes, 4 of them beat me up. I ran away, changed my clothes to disguise myself and came back to monitor the counting of votes.”
He also noted that there were cases of multiple casting of votes, but INEC officials failed to intervene.
“I observed more than 3-4 people voting more than once at the polling unit. INEC staff conducted the elections, though they looked the other way when this was going on,” Channels Television quoted Israel.
Also, while answering questions from counsel to APC, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Abiodun Owonikoko, the witness disclosed that a total number of 126 people were accredited at the polling unit where Governor Sanwo -Olu voted while APC had 121 votes, LP was given 2votes.
Additionally, another subpoenaed witness, the secretary of the Labour Party in Lagos State, Sam Okpala, also testified before the tribunal.
Led by counsel to the petitioner, Folagbade Benson, the subpoena was tendered to the tribunal through the witness, a situation which led to another round of objections from the respondents.
The tribunal in its ruling, noted the objections of the respondents but proceeded to hear the testimony of the witness while ordering the respondents to include their objections in their final written addresses.
The witness, while being cross-examined by INEC’s counsel, said he would not have appeared before the tribunal if he was not subpoenaed, adding that he never wrote a statement.
Goldennewsng reports that the Labour Party and its governorship candidate in Lagos is seeking to nullify the return of Gov. SanwoOlu and his deputy.
The tribunal, however, on Modnay adjourned till July 3 to continue the hearing in the petition.