Ladi Adebutu, who ran for governor of Ogun State as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but lost to Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has begun calling witnesses in his case challenging Abiodun’s election.
On Thursday, after all of the petitioners’ uncontested exhibits were admitted from the bar, they began calling witnesses.
The petitioners’ attorney, Gordy Uche, said the tribunal as court reopened on Friday, “the petitioners intend to start their trial by calling their witnesses.”
According to the Senior Advocate, he complied with the pre-hearing report by submitting a list of the witnesses the petitioners planned to present.
The tribunal presided over by Hamidu Kunaza allowed the petitioners to present their witnesses notwithstanding objections from the respondents.
Uche told the judge that 11 witnesses would be testifying on the petitioners’ behalf today.
Remi Olatubora, counsel to INEC; Taiwo Osipitan, representing Dapo Abiodun and Tayo Oyetibo of the APC, conducted cross-examinations of the witnesses.
Oduwole Ganiu Adekunle, a witness from the state’s Sagamu Local Government Area, testified that violent protesters had prevented voters from casting ballots in his precinct.
Oduwole claimed that armed thugs assaulted his polling place, stole vote boxes and other election equipment, and fled.
He continued by saying that the thugs also drove away INEC officials and voters, making it impossible for others to cast their ballots.
“My Lord, at 1.47 o’clock on election day, gun-wielding thugs disrupted voting in my precincts.
Everyone was being beaten and harassed, and they just started. Vote tabulation boxes and ballots were stolen. Oduwole added that some of them were even sporting APC wristbands.
Attorney for INEC Olatubora told reporters that he took part in the cross-examination to verify that all evidence submitted to the tribunal came directly from INEC.
Olatubora, who called himself a neutral third party and said the trial was proceeding smoothly, described himself as such.
The records that are provided to the tribunal must have come directly from INEC, so that is my primary concern. I need to make sure that the witnesses who showed PVCs issued by INEC were using the real deal. Having established that, as counsel for a non-moving party, Olatubora reported that “things are moving along swimmingly.”
In addition, both the petitioners’ and the respondents’ attorneys were pleased with the trial’s overall procedure.
On Monday, the trial will resume, and more witnesses will be subjected to cross-examination.