Tuesday, 21 February 2017

INEC Tenders Damning Evidence - How Edo Governorship Election Rigged

INEC Tenders Damning Evidence - How Edo Governorship Election Rigged

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday, tendered evidence and closed its defence before the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal, without calling a single witness.

The Tribunal, is sitting on a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  and its candidate in last year’s September 28 Edo Governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The petitioners are before the Tribunal, challenging the electoral body’s declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Godwin Obaseki, as winner of the poll.
They listed INEC in the substantive petition as respondents.

When hearing on the matter resumed on Monday, Counsel to INEC, Onyinye Anumonye, tendered more than 200 copies of the ward results (Form EC 8 B ) for the remaining 17 Local Government Areas, which were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits.
Anumonye’s prayer to also tender a supplement to the 2015 guidelines and regulation for the conduct of the election, was however, objected to by Counsel to the petitioners, Roland Otaru. 

In his objection to the admissibility of Anumonye’s document, Otaru argued that the Counsel to INEC, ought to have tendered the document through a witness at the witness box. 

However, the three-man panel Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, admitted in evidence and marked the certified true copy of the document as exhibit 1 R 022 .
INEC had 10 days allotted to it by the Tribunal to open its defence, and was expected to have called up its witnesses during its defence.
However, its Counsel said doing such was tantamount to wasting the Tribunal’s time.
Justifying this position, Anumonye explained that since the first respondent has so far reviewed the evidence presented, that it is of the firm believe that it had sufficiently established a defence to the petition, through the cross examination of the petitioners’ witnesses whose statements under cross examination confirmed its case, and particularly, the documents tendered as exhibits.
He said: “We therefore, consider it an unnecessary waste of the Tribunal’s precious time, to call witnesses who would merely repeat evidences that it had already elicited under cross examination.”
Recall, that last year’s Edo Gubernatorial election, was allegedly marred with plethora of electoral offences, including ballot box snatching, vote buying, and Returning Officers giving conflicting results, among others.