The Osun State Election Petitions Tribunal on Monday rejected the application of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in the August election, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to move a motion to call additional witnesses without reply by Governor Rauf Aregbesola and other respondents.
This is just as the petitioners tendered more documents with discrepancies before the tribunal.
Omisore and the PDP are challenging the election of Aregbesola and All Progressives Congress (APC) before the Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime-led tribunal, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is joined as the third respondent in the matter.
At the hearing of the petition yesterday, counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), informed the tribunal that he had filed a motion concerning his intention to call additional witness, whom he described as an expert.
He conceded that though respondents have right to reply to the motion, but he had informed the tribunal before, he should be allowed to move the motion.
Counsel to Aregbesola, Mr. Segun Ajibola (SAN), wondered why the petitioners’ counsel was prompting the tribunal to deny his client’s right to fair hearing on the application.
He remarked that he had seven days under the law to respond to the application before the tribunal could take it.
Also, counsel to the APC, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), said it was unfortunate that the petitioners’ counsel was trying to deny him his right of reply. He supported his argument with points of law and cases.
He stressed that there was nothing in the prayers of the petitioners’ application that the respondents should be restricted or curtailed from replying to the application, as against the law.
According to him, the application is seeking the discretion of the court and in such situation; parties must be given the opportunity to lay their grounds before the court.
Counsel to the INEC, Mr. Ayotunde Ogunleye, noted that there was no need for urgency in the application, arguing that parties must be allowed to respond to the application.
However, the petitioners’ counsel and the tribunal chairman appealed to the respondents to abridge the time they have to respond to the application.
Also, the respondents’ counsel agreed to file their reply within four days instead of seven day and the tribunal fixed Thursday, November 20, for the hearing of the application.
Earlier, Omisore and the PDP counsel had continued the tendering of CTCs of form EC25B for Irepodun, Irewole, Iwo, Obokun, Ola-Oluwa, Olorunda, Oriade and Osogbo Local Government with discrepancies.
In the course of tendering the documents, the respondents’ counsels observed that some of them have inscription on the reverse side without certification, some have no inscription to show that they are form EC25B, some were altered without endorsement, some mutilated, while some were detached and replaced with the ones that are not EC25B.
Consequently, the tribunal has also deferred ruling on the admissibility of the purported duplicate of form EC8A tendered by the first witness of the petitioners, Prince Bola Ajao, who is the State Secretary of the PDP, claiming that the results were submitted to him by PDP agents.
The deference of the ruling was sequel to the objections raised by the respondents’ counsel that the documents were not admissible, because the witness was not the maker of the document, who can answer questions on them.
Also, the INEC counsel observed that in some of the documents, there are alterations without endorsement, there is mutilation, and some were blank, while some were not legible.
The hearing continued as at the time of filing this report.