Witnesses spoil Adeleke’s case at Osun tribunal

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Above, the litigant Adeleke and Governor Gboyega Oyetola: Witnesses at today’s proceedings did not help Adeleke’s case

Proceedings resumed on Monday before the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja with the petitioners, Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP  calling 10 more witnesses.

However,  most of the witnesses proved useless to the petitioner  as they could not substantiate their claims.

The petitioners – the PDP and its candidate Senator Ademola Adeleke – are contesting the outcome of the election won by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adegboyega Oyetola.

The 10 witnesses called on Monday by the petitioners brought to 34 the number of witnesses so far called by the petitioners, who planned to call over 100.

All the witnesses called on Monday, most of whom were barely literate artisans, alleged that there was over-voting at the polling units where they served as agents of the PDP.

Some of the witnesses could not read the statements they claimed to have signed and adopted before the tribunal on Monday as their evidence in chief in the case.

The witnesses, most of whom could also not express themselves fluently in English language, were however unable to substantiate their allegations of over-voting.

When asked, under cross-examination, to provide proof of their claimed over-voting, the witnesses would point to some alterations in the result sheets tendered before the court.

When reminded, by respondents’ lawyers, that they signed the said result sheets on their own volition, the witnesses  claimed to have signed after protesting.

At a point, some of the witnesses became unruly as they refused to answer questions under cross-examination, thereby necessitating occasional intervention by tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo.

Some of the witnesses, also confessed, under cross-examination, that they were not the actual PDP’s agents, whose names were submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.

One of the witnesses, Mrs. Victoria Fadeke Alo admitted that it was actually another agent – Ilesanmi Samson Taiwo – who signed the result sheet as agent of the PDP in the polling unit she claimed to have represented the party.

Under cross-examination by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) who appeared for Oyetola, Mrs Alo admitted that she was not the Ilesanmi Samson Taiwo, whose name appeared on the result sheet as the PDP agent.

Another witness, Oyedokun Wasiu Soyode, who said he acted as PDP agent at Polling Unit 9, Ward 5 in Ejigbo Local Government also admitted not being the actual agent whose name was sent to INEC.

Soyode, who was cross-examined by John Baiyeshea (SAN), who took over from Olanipekun, said his name was not on the list of party agents sent to INEC.
He said it was his brother, Lateef Taiwo, who was the original agent whose name was sent to INEC, but took ill on the election day and was later admitted in the hospital.
He said the development informed why he was asked to take his brother’s place.
Also, Shehu Mufutau Alani , who said he acted as PDP agent in Unit 8, Ward 7, Iwo Local Government, also admitted not being the party agent, whose name was submitted to INEC.
He said one Fadirat Isiaka, whose name was submitted fell sick few day before the election, a development that informed his choice as a replacement.
*Reported by The Nation

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