WITNESSES CATALOGUE IRREGULARITIES AT EKITI GUBER ELECTION BEFORE TRIBUNAL

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The Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal was told on Friday that the July 14 governorship election was full of irregularities, and the results did not reflect the votes.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) state collation agent during the election, Sunday Olowolafe, along with 11 other witnesses, made this claim while testifying before the tribunal, sitting at the FCT High Court, Apo.

The petitioners, the PDP, and its candidate in the Ekiti July 14 governorship election, Olusola Kolapo had approached the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.

The respondents in the suit are the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Kayode Fayemi and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Led in evidence by MYusuf Ali (SAN), Olowolafe, who testified as the 32nd petitioners’ witness (PW32), declared that there were irregularities in the election, including improper accreditation on that day.

While being crossed examined by the counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN), the witness, who is the PDP Legal Adviser in Ekiti State, claimed that Governor Fayemi was disqualified by the report of Justice Oyewole Panel of Inquiry.

He claimed that he was not aware that the report had been quashed by a court of law.

Cross examined by Kayode Olatoke, counsel for Mr Fayemi, Mr Olowolafe contradicted himself when he acquiesced to the suggestion that an indictment by a panel is no longer a disqualification for anyone to aspire to any political office in the country.

Although Mr Olowolafe also agreed he witnessed voting in some of the polling units in the state, he said he got reports from agents of the PDP at polling units, wards and local government collation centres.

According to him, these reports formed about 75 per cent of the report he wrote on the election, which was tendered by the petitioners and admitted as exhibit by the tribunal. The report was admitted as Exhibit P83.

“I visited some polling units. I don’t know the percentage (of the ones visited). I was not so much affected by the restriction on that day. I have my INEC tag,” the witness told the tribunal.

Apart from Mr Olowolafe, the petitioners also called 11 other witnesses, who were all polling units agents for PDP in the contentious July 14 election.

A witness, Olorunsogbon Ayodele Martins (PW40) from Omuo-Oje in Ekiti East Local Government Area, told the tribunal that there was irregular counting of votes at the Ward 6, Unit 006, where he was an agent of the petitioners.

According to him, the total number of the used ballot papers and the unused ballot papers did not tally.

Another witness, Obadare Bunmi from Ado Ekiti in Ado Ekiti LGA, informed that the presiding INEC official at Unit 003, Ward 3 voided 32 ballot papers meant for PDP.

He, however, told the tribunal that he did not have the 32 voided ballot papers with him.

The witnesses mostly complained of alteration of results, outright voiding of PDP votes, over voting, irregular counting of ballot papers, among other issues

Meanwhile, lead counsel for the petitioners tendered two election monitor groups reports on the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State before the tribunal.

According to the senior advocate, the petitioners had pleaded some election observers’ reports, adding that they got certified true copies from INEC.

While INEC counsel objected to the admissibility, counsel for APC, Wole Aina, declared that the documents were totally irrelevant to the current proceeding.

Governor Fayemi’s counsel objected to the admissibility of the documents and said reason for this would be advanced later.

The tribunal, however, admitted the observers’ reports and marked them as exhibits and adjourned till Saturday October 27 for continuation of hearing.

(NAN)

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