Ogun Election Tribunal: Witnesses disown INEC result sheets

Witnesses at the ongoing Ogun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, on Thursday, disowned copies of election results in Form EC8A presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The witnesses disowned the result sheets despite identifying their signatures on the documents.

The governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement, Adekunle Akinlade, had dragged Governor Dapo Abiodun, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and INEC to the tribunal over the result of March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Abiodun, who is the  second respondent in the petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/01/19, had opened his defence on Wednesday following the closure of the petitioner’s case  on Tuesday.

Abiodun, through his lead counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), had called 13 witnesses on Wednesday but drama ensued on  Thursday when the witnesses  started disowning the  documents  despite identifying their signatures.

One of the witnesses, Ajao Olatunde, while being cross-examined by Akinlade’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), after adopting his statement on oath as his evidence-in-chief told the tribunal that he could not remember what his party scored at his polling unit.

When confronted with the pink copy of the Form EC8A used  in his polling unit which had  already been admitted as an exhibit, 52-year-old Olatunde  said he could not read the figures on the result sheet.

He said, “I can’t confirm it. I know our party won the election, I can’t confirm the score on the form (EC8A). I can’t recollect what my party scored.”

Another witness, Amosun Olusola, who was an agent of the APC in Ward 9 Unit 01 in Egbado South LG, said he was not comfortable with the result sheet of his polling unit showed to him despite acknowledging that  his signature  was on the sheet, marked P28.

He said the figures on the result sheet carrying his signature did not represent the scores announced at the polling unit as the exhibit was prone to alteration.

Another witness, Sotayo Bisayo, who was the APC agent in Ward II unit 16 of Abeokuta South LG toed Olusola’s line of evidence despite identifying his signature on the result sheets — P4 and P74 — he was confronted with.

When  asked by Raji if the result sheet carrying his signature was a replica of what he was given on the election day, Sotayo said, “It looks like it but I am not sure if it is.”

The proceedings further turned dramatic when an aged agent, Mudashiru Ogunkoya, of Ward 4 Unit 5 in Remo North LG, identified and adopted his statement on oath as evidence- in- chief before the tribunal.

While being cross-examined, Ogunkoya confirmed that he did not know the meaning of what was contained in his statement on oath despite appending his signature to it.

When confronted with the copies of the results sheets in his polling unit, Ogunkoya said he had never seen the pink copy marked Exhibit P22 despite identifying his signature.

Ogunkoya, who spoke through an interpreter, said he did not know the meaning of accreditation and thus would not know anything about night accreditation.

The counsel for the APC in the suit, Abeeb Ajayi, could not cross-examine the witness as he was creating more controversies and throwing the courtroom into uncontrollable laughter.

When Ajayi stood up for the cross-examination, he said, “All I want to say is that, Baba, thank you for coming.”

Justice Yusuf Halilu, who was the leader of the three-man panel, remarked that he knew the tribunal was in for a drama immediately Ogunkoya  entered the courtroom.

Another witness, Folarin Akeem, of Unit 1 Ward 1 of Abeokuta South LG said the result of the polling unit was only announced at the collation centre and not at the unit.

When confronted with exhibit P21, he identified his signature and said, “What I see here is the result recorded on that day. The result was not announced at the polling booth but at the collation centre, we only got the result sheet.” – Punch.

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