The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday told the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta metropolis that the plethora of evidence before the panel were enough to defend the mandate of Governor Dapo Abiodun, declined to call any witness.
Recall that almost all the witnesses called by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) across the State presented similar statements, with substantial contradictory positions and established lies after being thoroughly cross examined.
Also, it’s star witness and expert invited by the party came up with huge discrepancies and irreconcilable data in their separate presentations, thereby, making Counsel to the 1st respondent( INEC) Olumide Ogidan, SAN, to submit that the substantial grounds needed to be argued through witnesses’ statements had been explicitly established before the Tribunal during cross examination.
Ogidan, therefore, prayed the panel for the 1st respondent to close it’s case, that is even as he solicited for more days to attend to issues surrounding the reply of the Petitioners, citing exigencies at Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.
In the same vein, Counsel to the 2nd respondent(Governor Dapo Abiodun) Professor Taiwo Osipitan,SAN, aligned with the prayer of the Counsel to the 1st respondent, saying all the Counsels to respondents were on the same page on prayer for more days to move to Abuja and for the new subpoena to get prepared.
Also, Counsel to the 3rd respondent(APC) Mr Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, restated before the panel a new application which had just been served on the petitioners and other respondents on the ground that the paragraphs of the Petitioners’ reply and witnesses’ statements on OATH sought to be struck out but introduced new facts tending to add to the content of the petition.
He added that the paragraphs under review were highly prejudicial to the third respondent
According to him, the new allegations of fact pleaded in some paragraphs of the Petitioners’ reply raised issues which the third respondent could not have the opportunity to respond to.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the petitioners, Gordy Uche, SAN, in his response said,” We have been served with the application but we shall vehemently oppose the application”.
The tribunal, in it’s ruling said the adjournment became necessary despite the fact that it didn’t want to prepare judgement in a hurry, it, however, adjourned the case till Friday, 4th August, 2023.