Tribunal Update: INEC Commissioner Evades Order to Appear in Court as PDP Witnesses Contradict Selves

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The bailiff/clerk of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Lokoja, Kogi State, Taiwo Orenibi, accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of evading the service of an order to appear before the tribunal.

He made the accusation during hearing at the on-going governorship election petition tribunal where Prince Abubakar Audu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is challenging the election of Captain Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Orenibi claimed in an oath that he was on the premises of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Marine Road, Lokoja, about 4pm on March 26, to effect service of a subpoena duces tecum et ad testificandum issued by the tribunal at the instance of the petitioners, on the REC.

“Because the process requires personal service and urgency, I had to go to the INEC office in Abuja and I arrived there about 3.30 pm. I was again told that the Resident Electoral Commissioner was not in office but was attending a meeting at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja,” Orenibi said.

According to him, about 3.57 pm, he arrived at the venue of the meeting, Lagos-Osogbo Hall of the hotel and later found the REC about 5.10 p.m.

He said he introduced himself and told the REC that he was there to serve him a subpoena. The REC, he said, collected the document from him.

“I was expecting him to sign the acknowledgment copy which I gave to him. But I was surprised because the REC threw away the document and ran away.

“Suddenly, two security men grabbed and bundled me out of the hotel. I shouted that I am a bailiff of this tribunal and that they should not manhandle me,” Orenibi alleged.

Meanwhile, the drama at the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal continued yesterday as witnesses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contradicted themselves.

The first witness, a PDP ward supervisor during the election, Lawani Osebi Fidelis, said voting was peaceful in his ward, adding that there was no rigging. He claimed to have voted at polling unit 002.

But, during cross-examination by counsel to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Fidelis’ name and photograph were found in the voters’ register for polling unit 005.

Confronted with this information, the witness admitted that the register showed that he was not accredited to vote that day.

He said he monitored collation of results in the ward from morning till the end, whereas collation of results  started late in the day.

This contradiction drew laughter from the audience.

The second PDP witness,  Ahmed Yahaya Baba, admitted that there were discrepancies in the figures recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the result sheet for his polling unit.

While the total number of valid votes recorded on the result form for his unit was 159 and the total number of voters on queue was also 159, INEC recorded 42 ballots as rejected votes.

When added to the total valid votes, they came to 201 votes, which were in excess of the 159 voters said to be on queue during voting.

The third witness, Aro James Korede, said the 12 polling units in his ward were distances away, adding that he monitored collation from morning till the end.

This suggested that he was never present at any of the polling units in his ward where he claimed to have monitored the election.

 


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