INEC had been billed to open its defence on Tuesday after the petitioners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, closed their case last Friday, but the electoral commission on Tuesday asked for more time to bring its witnesses to the tribunal. The PDP and Ize-Iyamu are challenging the declaration by INEC of Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the September 28 governorship election and have listed INEC, Obaseki and the APC as first, second and third respondents respectively. Counsel to INEC, Onyinye Anumonye, who applied for adjournment to Friday due to what he called, “logistic challenges” informed the tribunal that majority of the witnesses he hoped to call upon were outside of Edo State and were not easily reachable. He said, “The INEC staffs are not stationed in Edo State, but are members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who have passed out of Edo State. From text messages sent to them, they were unable to make it”. He added that the former NYSC members and civil servants, who were also involved in the election, cannot be easily pulled out of their duty posts at short notice. Counsel to the petitioners, Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, however, opposed the commission’s application for adjournment on the basis of logistics, demanding that cogent reasons be given as he considered the expression, logistics, to be nebulous. Anumonye, however, further argued that the Electoral Act provides the commission 10 days to argue its case and that he could as well use nine days to prepare his witnesses and one day for the witnesses to give their testimonies. Anumonye argument was further supported by counsel to Mr Godwin Obaseki and the APC, Ken Mozia (SAN) and Ricky Tarfa (SAN) respectively. Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, thereafter granted the application and adjourned sitting till Friday, February 17, 2017.]]>

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