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Tribunal admits more exhibits as Isiaka, PDP call final witness




Not minding stiff opposition from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, the tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the weekend granted an application seeking to tender more exhibits.

In another development, Osun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to put measures in place for the conduct of local council election in the state.

A statement signed by the party’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, said conduct of local council election is long overdue, stressing that the last time council poll was held in the state was in 2007 when the PDP was in power.

According to the PDP, what Governor Aregbesola has been doing in respect of local council governance since he came about five years ago was unilateral selection of officials to run the councils without allowing people at the grassroots to have a say in those who govern them.

It also alleged the councils have remained a veritable ground through which the governor allegedly mismanage resources through his political appointees who are only accountable to him alone.

Opposing the application, counsel to the First to Third Respondents (Amosun, APC and INEC), Dr. Olumide Ayeni, George Oyeniyi and Oluwajare Ogunnaike, said the witness was not listed among the witnesses to be called and that allowing the application would amount to amending the substantive petition through the backdoor.

In his reply, counsel to the petitioners, Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), said the tribunal would be over-ruling itself since it was the same court, which granted the order of the inspection.

While granting the application, Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Henry Olusiyi, maintained that the tribunal was satisfied with all facts put before it by the petitioners, adding that “the case of amending the petition does not arise.”

He said: “We have considered all the authorities cited and we entirely agreed with the submission of the learned senior counsel for the petitioners/applicant”.

“The loan issue for determination formulated by us is resolved in the affirmative in favour of the petitioners/applicant. In the final analysis, we found considerable merit in the application, it succeeds and it’s hereby granted.”

Consequent upon the ruling, the Petitioners Witness (PW9) was admitted on oath and moved to tender a press statement issued by the Secretary to INEC and dated April 2, 2015 but was also vehemently opposed by the respondents.

Citing Kubor vs Dickson, 2013, Oyeniyi and Ogunnaike argued that the document did not comply with Section 84 (2) of Evidence Act because it was a Computer Generated Evidence.

But Oyeyipo in his submission maintained that the objection was based on assumption.

He added that on the face of the document, there was a signature of the third respondent and that the respondents did not make any attempt to substantiate the ‘blank statement’ from the bar. The tribunal subsequently admitted the press statement in evidence.

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