By Emma Amaize, austin Ogwuda, Festus Ahon & Bulou Kosin
ASABA—DELTA State governorship re-run election petitions tribunal sitting in Asaba, weekend, admitted the ballot papers used by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the January 6 poll in the state as exhibit.
The petitioner, Chief Great Ogboru, had approached the tribunal to declare him the winner of the re-run poll on grounds that he scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the election. He had disputed the conduct of the elections in eight local government areas of the state.
His counsel, Prof. Mogbeyi Sagay, had earlier opposed the tendering of ballot papers from two of the eight councils, Warri North and Isoko South, by INEC’s counsel, since ballot papers from only six councils were produced by INEC for joint inspection by parties, contrary to the order of the tribunal.
He informed the tribunal that he had written to INEC alerting it of the problem and also copied the tribunal.
Although Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s counsel said that the ballot papers for the eight local government areas were brought for inspection by INEC, the explanation of an INEC counsel did not agree with his claim.
Moves to tender the ballot papers without proper classification was again opposed by Sagay who insisted that they should be properly classified according to the respective polling units for easy identification and reference. The tribunal agreed, despite appeals by INEC that the ballot papers should be accepted the way it was classified based on the various local government areas.
The tribunal said that it would be improper for it, as a court of record, to admit documents that were not properly categorised as exhibit because it would make its records untidy.