By Ismail Omipidan
Barring any die-minute change, the Osun Election Petitions Tribunal will this Friday, January 13, see the parties in the governorship election litigation adopt their final written addresses.
Since 1999, outcomes of Election Petitions Tribunal sittings have in no small way helped to deepen the country’s electoral system. I am persuaded that this particular case will not be an exception.
Like I predicted before the tribunal began sitting, the revelations that came out from the Tribunal were indeed stunning, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), witness admitting under oath that there were “seeming” overvoting in the July 16 governorship election. Even the Governor Ademola Adeleke’s Forensic Examiner also confirmed that there were overvoting in Osun Governorship Election.
What are the issues before the Tribunal? Fundamentally, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate in that election, Oyetola, are challenging the eligibility of Senator Adeleke to stand for the election in the first instance and they are also contesting the fact that contrary to INEC’s declaration, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate in that election, Adeleke, did not score the lawful majority votes to be declared as the winner of the July 16 governorship election.
The Tribunal will for instance determine whether it was lawful and logical for INEC to have issued another CTC of BVAS report to the PDP and Adeleke after Oyetola and APC had filed their petitions in court, based on the first CTC BVAS report issued to them by INEC without any proviso from INEC as at the time it was issuing it that the report was either an Interim or unsynchronized one.
All the above and many more are some of the issues the Tribunal will be helping Nigerians to resolve in the days ahead having listened to both parties present their cases.
Since the introduction of the BVAS (Bimodal Voters Accreditation System) by INEC, Osun will be the first place where the BVAS report is being put on trial.
INEC as an institution would have done its best to ensure a seamless process. However, since those saddled with the responsibility of operating the technology are not angels, there are bound to be rooms for improvement.
In essence, the decision by Oyetola to challenge the outcome of the July 16 Osun Governorship poll should never be seen as an attempt to impugn on the integrity of INEC. Rather, the immediate past Osun governor should be commended for taking to the path of civility and the rule of law; and for helping to deepen the country’s democratic values and the electoral system.
They can run and lie but God and the Tribunal have the final say. The law and the Truth shall prevail in the end.
Before the Tribunal adjourned on December 22 to January 13, below is the summary of the three days proceedings:
The cross of the event on this day was the issue of a procedural error in tendering documents before the Tribunal.
Counsel for INEC, Professor Paul Ananaba, SAN, had filed four schedules containing the list of witnesses to be called and list of documents to be tendered.
Oyetola’s counsel, Prince Fagbemi, SAN, said he had seen the schedules containing the EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and EC8E and confirmed that they had jointly inspected the documents, saying he had no objection to the tendering of the said schedules.
He also said as for the schedule with respect to the BVAS machine, the INEC counsel had not shown the Petitioners’ counsel any of it, hence, it should not be allowed to form part of the evidence to be tendered before the tribunal.
While ruling on the application to tender the schedule, the tribunal, led by Justice Tertsea Kume, said the column containing the BVAS machine was not substantial enough to cause injury to the case of the petition and subsequently admitted the schedule as exhibit.
The tribunal went further to admit Form EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and EC8E as exhibit and marked them accordingly.
Immediately after the ruling, counsel for Oyetola rose and asked the tribunal to vacate its order which admitted the documents on the ground that the said documents as listed in the schedule were not properly tendered.
He said though the petitioners counsel had jointly inspected the documents with the respondents’, at the point of its tendering before the court, it must be shown to them to be sure that the documents inspected were the ones sought to be tendered.
He argued: “There are serious fundamental procedural irregularities here. INEC never sought to tender the documents and could not have done so. What they sought to tender were the schedule containing the list of the said documents. If they were to tender any documents, they will bring them here, but I never saw any.
“The contents of the schedule were never tendered. For it to be tendered, there must be an application to tender them and it is then we will know that what we examined is what is being tendered and then we can say we agree or not. This is cardinal.
“So as not to deny us our right to fair hearing, I will urge your Lordships to vacate the order admitting those documents contained in the schedules”, Fagbemi argued.
Replying to the issue raised by Fagbemi, the Counsel for INEC, Professor Paul Ananaba, SAN, counsel for Adeleke, Onyeachi Ikpeazu SAN and counsel for PDP, Alex Izinyon, SAN, agreed that there was a procedural issue in the tendering of the documents.
They conceded that the portion where the said documents were admitted should be set aside so that the INEC counsel could re-tender the documents in question.
The tribunal chairman subsequently agreed with the petitioners’ counsel and set aside the earlier ruling which admitted the documents.
Subsequently, INEC counsel sought to re-tender the documents, which are Forms EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D and EC8E and the petitioners’ counsel said they have objection to the admissibility of the documents but reserved their objections till the final address stage.
This was the day INEC witness, a Deputy Director in its ICT department, Mrs. Abimbola Oladunjoye, admitted while giving evidence before the Tribunal that there was overvoting in the July 16 election.
Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, cross examined Oladunjoye who was referred to as a star witness of INEC.
She admitted that in Ward 4 unit 7, Ede South Local Government, there was an overvoting of 75, as the figure of accreditation on the BVAS report presented by INEC was 313, while the result on form EC8A was 383.
Oladunjoye’s attention was also drawn to paragraph 21.36 of her witness statement where she stated that the accreditation figure was 830, but in the BVAS report presented by INEC, the figure of accreditation was 793, admitting that there was an over voting of 37.
The witness also admitted that in paragraph 26.7 of her witness statement, there was an accreditation figure of 402, while the accreditation figure on the INEC BVAS report was 263, admitting that there was overvoting of 139.
Also in paragraph 23.24 of her witness statement, Oladunjoye agreed that the accreditation figure she mentioned was 448, while the accreditation figure on BVAS was 224, admitting that there was an overvoting of 224.
She admitted that she signed and certified a BVAS report for the petitioners, and further said that the copy of the report was different from the one issued to the respondents, adding that she never indicated that the report issued to the petitioners was an interim document which would be subjected to synchronisation.
She testified that the synchronisation was done after election results had been declared on July 17, 2022 and BVAS report had been issued to the petitioners on July 27, 2022.
Done with the cross examination of the witness, Chief Olujinmi hinted that the irregularities identified in the BVAS report presented by INEC were just a tip of an iceberg, saying, there were loads of overvvoting during the election.
Earlier, the tribunal had admitted as exhibits the load of BVAS machines and CTC of Form EC8 series brought to the tribunal by the INEC counsel.
After the Cross examination of the witness, the INEC counsel, Professor Ananaba informed the court that he would no
longer be calling any other witness, as he applied to close his case.
Counsel for Adeleke, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, subsequently opened his defence by tendering Form EC8 series used for the election.
This was the last day of the sitting during that week. This day, Governor Adeleke’s Forensic Examiner, who is also a statistician, Samuel Oduntan, also told the Tribunal that there was overvvoting in the governorship election that brought in Governor Ademola Adeleke in some of the polling units he examined.
Oduntan, while giving evidence in defence of Adeleke’s declaration said he was paid by Adeleke to extract information through physical inspection of BVAS Machines used for the election and compared it with the Form EC8 series where he discovered that overvoting occured in some polling units, particularly six units in Ede South.
The witness told the panel that in Ward 4 unit 7, of Ede South, the accreditation figure he mentioned in his witness statement was 313, while the accreditation on the BVAS report was 383, which showed overvoting.
The effort of the Adeleke’s counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN, to prevent the witness from making comparison on the BVAS report and the result announced to show overvoting was overruled by the tribunal following the arguments of the petitioners’ counsel, Akin Olujinmi, SAN, that there was no law preventing him from cross-examining the witness.
The witness also testified that for Ward 4 Unit 8 of Ede South Local Government, the accreditation figure on the witness statement was 830, while the accreditation figure on BVAS report presented by INEC was 793, showing overvoting of 37.
He said though he did not work as INEC official on the election day, he carried out physical inspection of the BVAS machines where he carried out his analysis.
Also on this day, Reverend Jenyo appeared before the tribunal and tendered Adeleke’s certificates, bearing Penn Foster High School and Atlanta Metropolitan State College.
Claiming that part of his responsibility as Adeleke’s P.A. was to keep his personal documents, Reverend Jenyo said he has never worked in any of the institutions purported to have been attended by the Governor.
He added that though his International Passport does not show he attended Adeleke’s graduation in the US, he claimed that he attended the Graduation ceremony.
After the Cross examination of the two witnesses, the Adeleke’s counsel closed his case.
Subsequently, counsel for PDP, Alex Izinyon, SAN, also opened his case and told the panel that he would not be calling any witness but would be relying on the evidence of the two other respondents.
He then tendered some documents and closed his case.
The tribunal then adjourned till January 13, 2023 for the parties in the matter to adopt their final written addresses.
Here, I will leave you with the words of Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, where he said: “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.” This is why the BVAS is on trial in Osun.
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LAGOS STATE CHAPTER OF NIGERIA UNION OF PENSIONERS ENDORSE ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU FOR PRESIDENT AND BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU FOR SECOND TERM
The Lagos State Chapter of Retirees and Pensioners Association on the 30th January, 2023 made an open declaration in support of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the second term bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu at NECA House, Alausa CBD ,Ikeja.
Prior to the declaration of support, the members of the union had in their hundreds took a walk of about 200 meters in which various banners were displayed showing inscriptions in support of the All Progressives Congress candidates.
Representing the Governor was the Secretary to the State Government Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji who thanked the gathering for deeming it fit to throw their support behind Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
She reminded them of the need for all registered voters to have their PVCs collected.
On her part, Mrs. Ajibola Ponle who is the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions highlighted the positive impacts the State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu had made and what he is doing in the state in the area of Infrastructural Development, Education, Health, Transportation and many more.
Other speakers were Mr. Kola Peregrino the Deputy Director General who represented Mr. Tayo Ayinde the Director General of Independent Campaign Council. Peregriho attributed the successes recorded in Lagos State as the brainchild of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He submitted that Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has truly performed beyond expectations since he assumed office three and half years ago.
Furthermore, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Union Lagos State chapter Ms Agnes Sesi addressed the gathering in a more pragmatic way, saying the Lagos State workers remain far ahead their counterparts across the country in terms of governmental support. She was bold on this because according to her, she compares notes from time to time with other states’ Labour Union leaders. She, therefore, urged the pensioners to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president and work for the re-election bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
Also, in his remarks, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State enclave Rev. Remi Johnson acknowledged the steadfast commitment of government to the plight of pensioners. He advised all his colleagues – pensioners to get their Permanent Voter Card (PVCs) and vote for the candidates of All Progressives Congress in the coming elections.
The event was facilitated by the Directorate of Grassroots Engagement of Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu-Shetima and Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat (ICC) ably led by Hon. Ladi Balogun.
Dignitaries who witnessed the endorsement were Secretary to the State Government Mrs.Folashade Sherifat Jaji, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions Mrs. Ajibola Ponle, Commissioner for Physical Planning Dr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, Deputy Director General ICC Mr. Kola Peregriho, Chairman NLC Ms. Agnes Sesi, Chairman Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State Rev. Remi Johnson, and Director Directorate of Grassroots Engagement ICC Hon. Ladi Balogun among others.
Sponsored Protests Cannot Change Your Status As Sacked State Governor
– Osun APC chairman Tells Adeleke
The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Senator Ademola Adeleke to leave up to the reality of his Friday’s sack as the governor of the state by the virtue of the explicit judgement of the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
According to a statement issued by the Acting State Chairman of the APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in Osogbo yesterday,, the sponsored protests of both Adeleke and his party, the PDP, which were shamelessly staged in some of the states yesterday could only worsen their case instead of adding positive value to it at the appelate court.
Lawal stated that it was strange and unbelievable that Adeleke and his party could choose the option of denigrating the judiciary simply because the tribunal judgement did not go their way.
The state acting APC chairman said it was saddening that the sacked Governor Adeleke could be applauding and commending his sponsored protesters who went out to inflict inconvenience and violence on the inhabitants of the state under the guise of protesting the tribunal judgement that was not in the favour of the PDP candidate.
Lawal hinted that his own appraisal of the Adeleke-sponsored protests was an unmistakable conclusion that the sacked governor and his party are bad losers who are thinking that they can whip up the undeserved sentiment of the people in order to curry unmerited favour from the court of the public.
The state acting APC chairman said that the Adeleke sponsored protests were without any effect as there is no nexus between justice and sentiment because the law will always take its cause without the heavens coming down.
He reminded the embattled Senator Adeleke that it should dawn on him by now that he remains a sacked governor until the contrary is stated by a court of competent jurisdiction which is the Court of Appeal in this circumstance.
Lawal stated that no matter the magnitude of Adeleke’s sponsored protests and vilification and denigration of the judiciary, his current status as a sacked governor has the stamp of the law of the land.
The state acting APC chairman stated that whoever has recommended the sponsored protests for Adeleke to make up for his terrible loss at the tribunal is bereft of qualitative advice needed for someone like him who has crashed from his fraudulent political height that was witnessed at the tribunal on Friday.
In his words: “One needs not be a soothsayer to observe and conclude that you have lost this political battle and there is no known political short cut for you to get out of this self-inflicted political conundrum which has irredeemably defied any known remedy.
“I must expressly state here that it is still within the purview of your fundamental human right to approach the Court of Appeal for redress instead of sponsoring violent protests in some states across the state.
“Based on the Friday’s tribunal judgement, it is absolutely illegal for Adeleke to be talking about any mandate as the authentic election results of the July 16, 2022 governorship election has expressly shown that the PDP candidate has no mandate to flaunt to talk less of claiming any.
“It should be known that the incidence of over-voting, basis upon which Adeleke was purportedly declared the winner by the INEC as established by the tribunal, is nothing but unfair play which if left unturned is capable of setting a very bad precedent for our democracy.
“Adeleke should emulate the spirit of sportsmanship and maturity such that was displayed by the APC and Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola having felt cheated, chose lawful and legal way through which they became victorious today”, Lawal counseled.
The state APC acting chairman stated that the protests were by the sacked governor’s sponsored thugs and not the electorate who have been happy and joyous all over the state over the judgment.
Sooko TAJUDEEN LAWAL, Acting Chairman, Osun State APC.
VIDEO: JANDOR UNLEASHES TERROR ON INNOCENT LAGOSIANS
Our attention has been drawn to the reign of terror unleashed on innocent and law abiding citizens of Lagos state by the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming national elections, Jide Adediran, otherwise known as Jandor in the course of his campaign in Surulere Local Government Council of the state.
The incident left in its wake several maimed victims and three people reportedly sent to their untimely death.
We condemn in strong terms the unwarranted and unprovoked resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering campaign.
Lagos cherishes it’s enviable status as the safest state in the country which has been as a result of long running and painstaking investment in security through the provision of the wherewithal and incentives for security agencies.
We view this attack as a ploy to instill fear in the hearts of voters as we count down to the elections.
It’s pathetic to note that a candidate seeking to govern the state could be seen actively promoting anarchy and violence to disrupt the peace of the citizens.
It will be recalled that the suspect has been busy in the past days crying wolves in the media as he perfected his evil plans which manifested at his rally.
While we can imagine the untold misery and frustration that his faltering campaign might have visited on him, it ought not to result in the thirst for the blood of potential voters.
We hereby call on the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident , bring the culprits to book and beef security across the state with the obvious desperation of the opposition PDP in order to forestall a reoccurrence.
We urge Lagosians to remain calm and law abiding as the state government remains irrevocably committed to its onerous duty of ensuring the safety of lives and properties of all and sundry.
Hon. Seye Oladejo
Lagos State APC Spokesperson
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