The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday closed its defense of how it conducted the September 28 Edo State governorship election before the tribunal on Monday without calling on any witness but admitted in evidence copies of INEC’s forms EC8B and EC8C used in the 18 local government areas of the state.
The forms were presented to the court by counsel to INEC, Onyinye Anumonye, without any objection by counsel to the PDP and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Roland Otaru, SAN, and admitted as exhibits by the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi.
Anumonye told the court at its resumed sitting on Monday that as the first respondent, the documents would help to establish its defense to the petition filed by the PDP and Ize-Iyamu, pointing out that it would amount to waste of the tribunal’s precious time to call on witnesses, who will only come to repeat statements already contained in the documents the commission had already tendered.
He said “We consider it a waste of the tribunal’s precious time to call witnesses to merely repeat evidence that we have already elicited under cross-examination”.
He argued that the INEC was confident that with the documents the commission submitted to the court, it has proved and established its defense to the petition based on its earlier cross-examinations of the petitioner’s witnesses.
Anumonye further presented a document entitled, “Supplement to the 2015 guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of Election,” which was admitted as exhibit after the counsel to the PDP and Ize-Iyamu failed to stop the presentation of the document.
The tribunal will resume sitting on Thursday, February 23, 2017, when counsel to the second respondent, Governor Godwin Obaseki, will open his case.
Meanwhile, some supporters of the PDP on Monday celebrated the inability of the INEC to present witnesses to the tribunal.
They sang songs and danced on parts of Sapele Road moment after the tribunal ended Monday’s sitting.
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