.Tribunal fixes Marc 7 for adoption of written addresses

The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal heard on Wednesday how the candidate People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke allegedly promised to bribe electorate with money while he was campaigning for the rerun election held on September 27, 2018.

A witness, Kazeem Oladejo told the tribunal that Adeleke visited his community, Idi-Iya in Orolu Local Government, Osun State to campaign, during which he allegedly promised openly, to give people money should the electorate vote for him.

Oladejo, who was the second witness of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the revelation while being cross-examined by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who led the legal team of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola (the incumbent Governor of Osun State).

Olanipekun asked the witness if Adeleke visited his (witness’) community between September 22, 2018 (when the initial election was held) and September 27, 2018 (when the rerun election was held).

In response, the witness said: “In between the first election and when the rerun election was conducted, the first petitioner (Adeleke) came to my village to canvass for vote.

“He came to our town, dancing. He went to our Oba’s palace and went around the town, dancing and campaigning, and saying, I am coming fully now.

“Many big Nigerians are supporting me, like Femi Otedola and Dangote. Vote for me and I will give you money, gbagam! I will give you dollars, gbagam! I will give you pound sterling, gbagam! I will give you Euro, gbagam!’

“He (Adeleke) said it categorically that Femi Otedola and Dangote have given him money. He mentioned all kinds of money, like dollars, pound sterling and Euro.

“He danced around the town and danced out of the town, while he was leaving after the campaign,” the witness said.

As the witness spoke, member of the tribunal took note, while the audience erupted in laughter, with some repeating the word: Gbagam.

Adeleke and the PDP are challenging the outcome of the last governorship election in Osun State, won by APC’s candidate, Oyetola.

Earlier, while being led in evidence by APC’s lawyer, Abiodun Layonu (SAN), Oladejo, (who was listed as the respondent’s 13th witness (but second for the third respondent – APC), said he acted as Polling Unit agent for the APC in Unit4 Ward 8 Idi-Iya Village, Orolu LG.

He confirmed signing a written deposition and asked the tribunal to accept the deposition as his evidence before the tribunal.

Under cross-examination by lawyer to the first respondent – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – Adesina Agbede, the witness said he stood by all that are contained in his written deposition, which the tribunal admitted as his oral evidence in the case.

Under cross-examination by lawyer to Adeleke and PDP, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), the witness said he did not include the information, about how Adeleke promised to bribe electorate, in his written deposition.

When asked by Oke whether the election was monitored by observers, Oladejo said there were many observers. He said both local and foreign observers were at his polling unit.

The first APC’s witness for the day (listed as R12), was Soji Ayoola, who said he is a teacher and was APC’s agent in Unit 8, Ward 9 in Isundurin, Ejigbo LG.

Led in evidence by Layonu, the witness adopted his written statement, which the tribunal admitted in evidence.

Under cross-examination by Agbede, Ayoola said his polling unit was won by the PDP with 168 votes as against APC’s 86 votes.

He said the election was held in accordance with the required standard.

He said he was accredited before being allowed to vote.

He said he voted once, and that, at the close of ballot, the results were announced to the hearing of all.

The witness said: “Before the election, all the materials were shown to us and the ballot papers were counted at the end of the election.”

The witness said all party agents in his polling unit signed the result sheet, following which a pink copy of the result sheets was handed to each of the agents.

Under cross-examination by Olanipekun, the witness confirmed that the PDP won in the unit where he served as agent.

Ayoola said the votes were already sorted out, counted and announced before the information were entered into the Form EC8A (the result sheet from his polling unit).

The witness, who read from the Form EC8A, noted that the total number of issued ballot papers for his polling unit were 714 while the total number of used and unused ballot papers stood 711, which was less than the number issued

He said a total number of unused ballot papers was 361 while 350 was the total number of used ballot papers.

The witness said while total number of used and unused ballot papers in his polling unit amounted to 711 the result sheet contained 714 as the total number of allocated ballot papers.

The witness said 48 political parties participated in the election and that agents of the parties signed the result sheets after the election.

He said the result sheets, which all the agents signed, had carbon copies, which were attached to them.

At that point, Olanipekun asked the witness to demonstrate how he signed the result sheets. The witness was provided with a copy of the result sheet and a carbon sheet, on which he signed three times.

The specimen of the witness’ signature was later tendered by Olanipekun, which the tribunal, in the absence of objection from the other parties, admitted in evidence and marked as: Exhibit R169A.

At the conclusion of Oladejo’s testimony, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), who led the APC’s legal team, told the tribunal that the third respondent has decided to close its case after calling its second witness.

Following agreement by parties, tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo directed the respondents (INEC, Oyetola and APC) to file their written addresses within 10 days.

He asked the petitioners to filed their written addresses within seven days after the respondents have filed and served them, following which the respondents will, again have five days, within which to file their written reply on point of law.

The tribunal Chairman adjourned to March 7 this year, for parties to adopt their final written addresses.

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