Hearing in the election petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, challenging the victory of Mr. Godwin Obaseki at the September 28, 2016 Edo gubernatorial polls, made no progress on Wednesday, following disagreement among counsels to the parties over documents tendered at the election tribunal.
When hearing of the petition commenced in ernest, Counsel to the petitioners, Mallam Yusuf Alli, SAN, who led other Lawyers, told the tribunal that he would start his case by tendering the non-contentious certified electoral documents common to all the parties in the petition.
He added that some of the documents, Form EC8 E would be tendered in batches according to polling units.
Counsel to the respondents however objected to the opening remarks, as they disagreed on the mode of tendering the documents, insisting that they had no knowledge of the documents sought be tendered.
This forced the tribunal to adjourn for about one and half hours to enable the parties sort the documents and reach a consensus.
Counsel to the petitioners, Yusuf Alli, SAN, tendered Forms EC8 E, EC8 D and at the point of tendering Forms EC8 C (results for 17 local government areas), which the respondents’ counsel objected to, insisting that they only examined the result for Akoko-Edo and were yet to examine those for the Seventeen other local governments areas.
Though the tribunal ruled that the documents be examined by respondents’ counsel before tendering them, much progress was not made in the hearing, forcing INEC lead Counsel, Hassan Liman, SAN, to propose that petitioners and respondents’ counsel should liaise with the tribunals’ Registrar to sort out the documments before full trial commences.
Consequently, the Chairman of the tribunal, Ahmed Badamasi ruled that the parties should meet with the Tribunal Registrar to sort out the documents and then adjourned the hearing on the petition to Monday January16, 2016.
Earlier, the tribunal dismissed the petitioners’ application seeking to vary its earlier order directing five nominees of parties to the petition to carry out the inspection and scanning of the ballot papers used for the election.
“From the content of the application, the petitioners want the tribunal to regulate the scanning. This is most unnecessary. INEC is an agent of Government. It is not the function of the tribunal to delve into the Ist respondent (INEC)’s administrative affair,” the tribunal held.
It further ruled that the application lacks merit and therefore, dismissed it.