The independent Electoral Commission closes its defense case at the Edo election petition tribunal without calling in any witnesses as promised last week, instead, they decided to tender documents already tendered by the petitioners.
The Edo elections tribunal sitting in Benin City has admitted in evidence copies of INEC forms EC8B and EC8C used in the 2016 Edo governorship election, for all of the eighteen local government areas in the state.
The forms were presented to the court by INEC counsel Onyinye Anumonye, without any objection by counsel to the PDP and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Roland Otaru, SAN. The documents were labelled exhibits by chairman of the three member tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi.
The documents are apparently the same documents that the petitioners in the case, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu (POI) submitted in their petitions.
It can be reported that many of the youth corp members approached to testify refused, claiming that they can’t lie under oath. Even the professors from Ekiti university who superintended over the flawed election also failed to come to court to testify.
The implications of this according to pundits is that INEC is unable to defend the results that they declared, which awarded victory to Mr Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Party (APC).
The next in line to make submission is the APC, after which the judges will consider all the documents and give their verdict.
The Petitioners have asked the Edo State Elections Petition Tribunal to declare them winner of the September 28 Gubernatorial election in Edo state because, according to facts in their petition, they scored highest number of valid votes in the election.
At the resumption of hearing on Monday, counsel for INEC, Onyinye Anumonye, however, tendered no fewer than 200 copies of the ward results (Form EC8B) for the remaining 17 local government areas, all of which were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits.
Anumonye also sought to tender a supplement to the 2015 guidelines and regulations for the conduct of the election.
Counsel for the petitioners, Roland Otaru, objected the admissibility of the document, which he said ought to have been tendered by a witness.
But the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, admitted the evidence and marked the Certified True Copy of the document as exhibit 1R022.
INEC had used five out of the 10 days allotted to it by the tribunal to open its defence and had been expected to call its witnesses.
But its counsel said that it would amount to a waste of the tribunal’s time to call witnesses to support the case of the first respondent.
Anumonye explained that having reviewed the evidence presented thus far, it was the position of the first respondent that it had sufficiently established a defence to the petition.
“We, therefore, consider it an unnecessary waste of the tribunal’s precious time to call witnesses who would merely repeat evidence that had already been elicited under cross-examination,” he added.