TRIBUNAL UPDATE: Aregbesola Closes Defence

scales-of-justiceGovernor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun has closed defence against the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore challenging his August 9 re-election before Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime-led Election Petition Tribunal.

Announcing the closure of the defence on Wednesday, Aregbesola counsel, Kunle Adegoke said his client is satisfied with the defence put up before the panel.

The counsel, as at the time of closing the defence spent only eight out of the statutory 10 days allow him to defend the allegations of the petitioners.

He called 19 witnesses in defence of the allegations of the petitioners and their witnesses before the tribunal.

The second respondent, All Progressive Congress (APC) has been billed to open its defence tomorrow,  Friday, December 19.

The APC Counsel, Mr Ajibola Basiru said the witnesses called by the first respondents were to further convince the court that the election was indeed free and fair, saying, the petitioners have not proved any case.

He said, “We are not under any obligation to even call a particular number of witnesses, because the petitioners have not called witnesses to cover areas pleaded in the petition and secondly their witnesses have been thoroughly discredited under cross-examination.

“The petitioners have also not established the case of non-compliance. From experience, this is one of useless election petitions I have ever seen in the history of this country”, he said.

The petitioners’ counsel, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), said it is for the tribunal to determine the veraxity of the allegations of the petitioners and the defence of the respondents.

Earlier, Aregbesola’s counsel had called two witnesses, Aminulahi Rafiu, a voter from Ward 4, Unit 9 of Ede North local government and Atanda Isaac, an APC party agent at Ward 1, Unit 1 of Irepodun local government, who told the tribunal that the election was free and fair.

They both told the tribunal that the INEC officials brought all the required election materials for the units and political party agents signed the result forms.

The witnesses also told the panel that neither voters or party agents complained on the conduct of the election on the said day.