Sunday averred that contrary to the allegations of bias, violence, vote-buying and general malpractices by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Prof Olusola Kolapo, who are the petitioners, the election was devoid of rancour and violence. Led in evidence by Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), counsel to Governor John Kayode Fayemi, the witness informed the tribunal, headed by Justice Suleiman Belgore, that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were not biased against any party. The witness maintained that it would be a daydream for anybody or group to say that the election was not free, fair, credible and acceptable. Sunday, who claimed to be in the situation room established by the campaign organisation to monitor the election, told the tribunal that he never got any report of violence, vote-buying and malpractice. The witness said all agents of political parties who participated in the election signed the result sheets. He said: “It is not true that INEC favoured John Kayode Fayemi in the election. The allegation of vote-buying is also not true. In fact, the election was among the best conducted by INEC.” Under cross-examination by Chief Roland Otaru (SAN), counsel to the petitioners, the witness, who tendered the judgment of FCT High Court delivered by Justice Othman Musa, said he was not a member of the Action People’s Party (APP), which instituted the case that sought to disqualify Governor Fayemi from contesting the July 14 election but was dismissed by the court. The witness admitted that his disposition on oath was based on the reports he obtained from other All Progressives Congress (APC) agents during the election. The PDP and Prof Kolapo filed the petition, praying the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election on the ground that they scored majority of the lawful votes. They alleged that the victory of Governor Fayemi was as the result of vote-buying, widespread rigging, malpractices. According to them, INEC officials favoured the governor during the election. Also, Fayemi, who was present at yesterday’s proceeding, told reporters that he was confident the tribunal will do justice to all issues raised by the petitioners. His lawyer, Fagbemi, expressed optimism that the tribunal would complete hearing of the petition within the time allowed by law due to the steady progress being made by the tribunal and cooperation of counsel to parties.]]>

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