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Ogun: Tribunal accepts election results as exhibits

By Kolade Larewaju
THE Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal yesterday admitted in evidence counterpart original of some of the results of the April 14, 2007 governorship election conducted in the state submitted to the Tribunal under subpoena by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Although only those of Ogun Waterside Local Government were tendered and marked as exhibit, the submission for those of other local government areas of the state has been fixed for Monday.

The acceptance of the counterpart original results, however, came only after stiff opposition from counsel to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Dr. Olumide Ayeni.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun is challenging the declaration of Governor Olugbenga Daniel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the said election before the Tribunal.

Counsel to Governor Daniel and the PDP, Prof. Bayo Osinpitan (SAN) had issued a subpoena to INEC for the submission of the results and asked the court to accept them as exhibits before Dr. Ayeni opposed the acceptance.

In opposing, Dr. Ayeni contended that at least seven of the documents in respect of Ogun Waterside which was presented first, have no signatures of the makers while two have no details of those endorsing them and declared “such documents are worthless”.

He also argued that having issued a subpoena against INEC and PDP earlier for them to produce the said documents, which he said they failed to do, Governor Daniel could not therefore use the same sets of documents to pursue his own case, especially when Amosun and INEC had closed their cases.

Dr. Ayeni also contended that Governor Daniel had in paragraphs 35 and 44 of his reply to the suit pleaded that the notice to produce all documents relating to the election was unwarranted and unreasonable which he said would not now entitle Governor Daniel to use the documents as they were not pleaded.

He rounded up by arguing that the number of documents provided by INEC was moreover in excess of what was listed in the subpoena and asked the Tribunal to throw out the exhibits.

He cited several authorities including Apena vs. Aiyetoba, Agagu Vs Mimiko, Ajide Vs Kelani and Buhari Vs Obasanjo to back up his arguments.

But Prof. Osinpitan in his response submitted that the said documents were relevant and admissible as they were counterpart originals of documents pleaded by the petitioner (Amosun), adding “even if we did not plead it and they pleaded it, we have a duty to bring it before the tribunal”

On the issue of the non signing of the results, Prof Osinpitan said the documents enjoy presumption of regularity because despite the no signature, they were duly stamped and were coming from the custody of INEC.

He also cited Agagu Vs Mimiko and ANPP Vs Usman among other authorities.

The INEC counsel, Mr. Mutiu Akinrinmade adopted the position of Prof. Osinpitan urging the Tribunal to accept the documents.

Ruling, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Suleman Ambroussa said that the documents were admissible but added that only those listed in the subpoena would be accepted by the court. Further hearing has been adjourned till Monday.


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