BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Osun State Election Petition Tribunal hearing the suit filed by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, on Tuesday, admitted documentary evidence which allegedly lends credence to the claim that the governorship election leading to the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as governor-elect was manipulated.
Among the documents admitted in evidence were the INEC Regulation and Guideline for the election, INEC Manual for Electoral Officials, Forms EC8As which are election results for Osogbo, Ede North and Ede South local governments, among others.
But counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, Paul Ananaba (SAN), declined consent to documents issued as Certified True Copies by the Commission.
At the hearing of the tribunal on Tuesday, counsel for Oyetola, Lateef Fagbemi,(SAN), informed the tribunal that the documentary evidence sought to be tendered had been cross-checked by the respondents and they all agreed that it should be tendered from the bar.
He then sought to tender the documents as listed on the schedule already submitted to the tribunal, which included the regulations and guidelines issued by INEC for the election.
INEC’s counsel, Ananaba, subsequently raised an objection to all the documents which had already been certified by the Commission.
Surprised by the objection, one of the judges queried: “You are raising objections even to your regulations?”
Ananaba, in response, insisted on objecting to all the documents as listed in the schedule and hinted that he would give reasons for his objection in the final written address.
Counsel for Adeleke, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), and the PDP, Alex Izinyon (SAN), also objected to the admissibility of the evidence and indicated that they would give reasons in their final addresses.
Responding to their objections, Fagbemi sought to tender another evidence which contained the ‘Schedule of the Documents’ to be tendered, but Ananaba again objected on the grounds that it was never pleaded.
Surprised again, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertsea Kume, queried the INEC counsel and referred to his record where the counsel informed the court that he had cross-checked the schedule of documents and had no objection.
It was on the basis of this that the INEC counsel withdrew his objection, while Adeleke and PDP’s counsel also raised no objection to the tendering of the documents.
In his ruling, the tribunal admitted in evidence all the documents tendered and marked them as exhibits.
After the ruling, the petitioners’ counsel informed the tribunal that the tendering of other documents would be continued on Wednesday (today), as the list of the documents to be tendered in the next sitting had been given to the respondents’ counsel to cross-check.
The tribunal then adjourned till Wednesday (today), for continuation of hearing.