Former Borno State Deputy Gov. Adamu Shettima Yuguda Dibal on Tuesday told the Lagos Election Petition Tribunal that it was the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee (NWC) that set up state committees which conducted the primary election in all the 36 states.
Dibal was the chairman of the 2023 governorship primary of APC in Lagos which produced Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the candidate of the party for the March 18 2023 election.
He testified before Lagos State Election Petition Tribunal in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Abdulazeez Adediran (a.k.a. Jandor) against declaration of Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the election.
Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, led Dibal in evidence.
Dibal told the tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom that Lagos State Chairman of the APC, Mr Cornelius Ojelabi, did not flout any electoral regulation when he notified Lagos State Office of INEC in writing about the party’s primary election in Lagos State.
During cross-examination, Mr Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN), counsel to the PDP Governorship Candidate, asked the witness whether Ojelabi was the national chairman of the APC as at May 24, 2022, when he wrote the letter.
The witness replied in the negative.
The witness told the court that it was APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) that set up state committees which conducted the primary election in all the 36 states.
While being cross-examined by APC counsel, Mr Babatunde Ogala (SAN), the chieftain, after being shown the said letter which had become an exhibit before the tribunal, said that Ojelabi was only informing the INEC office that the NWC had constituted a five-member committee to conduct the primary election in Lagos State and he was the Chairman.
The witness also said he produced a report on the primary election to the national secretariat of the APC after the exercise.
The witness, while replying INEC’s counsel, Mr Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), said that representatives from INEC’s headquarters and its Lagos Office were present during the primary election and signed a report on its conduct.
There was no cross-examination by counsel to Labour Party and its Candidate, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom thereafter discharged the witness, and directed the APC to open its defence on July 12.
In the petition, Adediran accused the governor of presenting a forged West African School Certificate to INEC – Independent National Electoral Commission.
Adediran also accused Hazmat of not including oath declaration in his INEC Nomination Form EC9.
He added that APC did not comply with the Electoral Act when nominating Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat.
Adediran, who emerged third in the governorship election, closed his case on July 4 after presenting oral and documentary evidence.