The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) closed its defence today without calling any witness to back its defence at the Delta State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Asaba, the state capital.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, are challenging the declaration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the April 11 governorship election at the tribunal.
At the resumed hearing of the case today, counsel for INEC, Mr D.D. Dodo (SAN), who was represented by Mr. Onyinye Anumonye, tendered from the bar the card reader accreditation status, unit by unit report, as uploaded as of April 16, 2015, which had earlier been tendered by Okowa but was rejected by the tribunal due to improper certification.
No witness deposed to the document.
Counsel to the petitioners, Mr. Thompson Okpoko (SAN), in objecting to the admissibility of the documents, relied on a Supreme Court ruling to the effect that a document once tendered and rejected during a tribunal proceeding, stays rejected since its defects could not be cured during the said trial.
The INEC’s counsel, however, argued that the documents were slightly different from the rejected documents sought to be tendered.
In a brief ruling, the tribunal admitted the documents as exhibits R30, R30A with the certification marked as R32 and R32A respectively.
Though the INEC’s counsel had scheduled five witnesses to testify before the tribunal, he said the commission would not call any witness but would only rely on the testimonies of other witnesses called by the Okowa and PDP.
Anumonye added that from the evidence and document so far tendered before the tribunal, his client was convinced that it had conducted a free and fair election in the state.
The Justice Nasiru Gunmi-led tribunal adjourned to October 13 for parties to submit and adopt all written addresses, allotting two weeks for the panel to prepare and deliver judgment.