Delta State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, setting in Asaba, has admitted documents presented by subpoenaed officials of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC.
The tribunal had following an application by the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Olorogun O’Tega Emerhor, who listed the INEC staff as witnesses, ordered them to appear before the tribunal.
Meanwhile, Justice Nasiru Gunmi, chairman of the three man panel, told the witnesses brought by the APC, Omadele Tuoyo, to leave the tribunal venue for violating the rule that forbids either the petitioner’s or respondent’s witnesses to be present while proceedings are ongoing.
His action was sequel to the alarm raised by Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, counsel to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the presence of Omadele Tuoya, which according to him, runs counter to the standard practice.
Dismissing the objections raised by Governor Okowa, the Peoples Democratic Party, and INEC through their counsel to the admissibility of INEC Card Readers unit by unit accreditation of voters’ document as exhibits, Justice Gunmi said: “We have examined this application on the face of the documents tendered and we are satisfied that the documents satisfied the requirement of Section 104 (2) of the Evidence Act to justify the admission of these documents.”
Gummi said that the documents tendered were duly certified by appropriate authority, adding “we are of the view that signature is the most important aspect of certification, therefore, the documents meet certification requirement. We, therefore, overrule the objection to the admission of this document and admit the documents as exhibits PW1A and PW1B.”
Counsel to Emerhor, Chief Thomas Okpoko, SAN, who is challenging the declaration of Okowa of the PDP as the winner of the April poll, had called two subpoenaed INEC witness to tender document and give oral evidence before the tribunal.
Objecting to the admissibility of two documents (witnesses’ statements on oath) tendered by one of the witnesses, Mrs. Abimbola Olaloyi, Assistant Director, Information Communication Technology, ICT, department at INEC’s office in Abuja, Okowa’s counsel, Izinyon, argued that the documents were not listed, pleaded and properly certified.