Abia north poll: Tribunal extends trial schedule to Sept. 18


The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has extended continuation of proceedings in the consolidated petition of former Governor of Abia State and PPA candidate for the Abia North senatorial election, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, to September 11 and 18, 2015.

Dr Kalu is challenging the declaration of Mao Ohuabunwa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Tribunal Chairman, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, said yesterday after taking the forensic expert witness on the matter, that the rescheduling was necessary to accommodate the respondent’s witnesses.

Accordingly, the tribunal gave the new terminal date for the proceeding as October 14, 2015.

The tribunal had in its earlier schedule, given the terminal date for the proceedings as September 11 and 29, 2015.
Justice Onigbanjo overruled the objection of the respondent’s counsel against the testimony of the forensic expert, also known as SW5, which paved the way for him to be cross-examined.

The respondents had in their objections, urged the court to disallow the witness on the ground that the document he came to tender was a computer generated evidence and photocopies rather than the original document.

But Kalu’s counsel, Chief Kelvin Nwufo (SAN), said the objections were misconceived because the documents were duly signed by the witness himself and could not have been rightly said to be computer-generated.

After the tribunal ruling on the objections, the forensic expert told the tribunal under cross-examination that he trained as a forensic expert in Kaduna and in the United States and duly certified for the job.

He said during the forensic examination he scanned 45,367 ballot papers used in the Abia North election even as he said that he separated the ballot papers according to the local government areas so as to arrive at the number for each.

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