- Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state has opened his defence at the election tribunal hearing petition against his victory at the poll
- Abiodun's main challenger at the election, Adekunle Akinlade, had closed his case earlier on Tuesday, July 9
- But drama ensued on Thursday, July 11, when one of Abiodun's witnesses, Ajao Olatunde, said he could not remember what his party scored at his polling unit
There was a mild drama at the ongoing Ogun state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital on Thursday, July 11.
The Nation reports that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s witnesses called by his lead counsel, Taiwo Osipitan, disowned election results in form EC8A bearing their signatures.
Legit.ng gathered that Abiodun, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and second respondent in the petition, opened his defence on Wednesday, July 10.
The petitioner, Adekunle Akinlade, who was the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), closed his case earlier on Tuesday, July 9.
It was learnt that at the resumed hearing of the petition on Thursday, one of the witnesses, Ajao Olatunde, who had adopted his statement on oath as evidence in chief during proceeding, later told the tribunal when cross-examined by Akinlade’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), that he could not remember what his party scored at his polling unit.
But upon being shown the pink copy of form EC8A used in his polling unit, which had already been admitted as exhibit, Olatunde told the tribunal that he could not read the figures on the result sheet.
“I can’t confirm it. I know our party won the election, I can’t confirm the score on the form (EC8A,). I can’t recollect what my party scored,” the 52-year-old witness said.
Also, Amosun Olusola, who said he was an agent of APC in ward 9 unit 01 in Egbado south local government, told the court that he did not agree with the result sheet of his polling units shown to him, even when the document bears his acknowledged signature marked P28.
He said the figures on the result sheet bearing his signature did not represent the scores announced at the polling unit (on the election day), adding that the exhibit was prone to alteration.
Another witness, Sotayo Bisayo, who was an APC agent in ward II unit 16 of Abeokuta south, was also unsure of the party’s score despite identifying his signature on result sheets marked – P4 and P74, which were shown to him.
Asked by Raji if the result sheet carrying his signature was the same as one given to him on the election day, he said: “It looks like it, but I am not sure if it is.”
The same experience occurred when an aged agent, Mudashiru Ogunkoya of ward IV unit V, Remo north local government, identified and adopted his statement on oath as evidence-in-chief before the tribunal but when cross-examined, Ogunkoya affirmed that he did not know the meaning of what was contained in his statement on oath despite appending his signature to it.
When presented with copies of results sheets in his polling unit, Ogunkoya, who spoke through an interpreter, said he had never seen the pink copy marked Exhibit P22, although, it bears his signature.
Ogunkoya also said he did not know the meaning of accreditation and anything about night accreditation.
Counsel to the APC, Abeeb Ajayi, could not cross-examine the witness but thanked him for coming.
“All I want to say is that thank you for coming,” Ajayi said.
Justice Yusuf Halidu, who heads the three-man panel, remarked that he knew the tribunal was in for a drama immediately the witness entered the court, saying, “and it was a dramatic session.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that 15 governorship candidates in the last governorship election in the state, appealed to Akinlade to withdraw the petition against Governor Abiodun in order for peace to reign in the state.
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