The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal has ruled that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should on Tuesday tender some documentary evidence challenging the result of the July 16 governorship election in the state.
INEC declared Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the election winner. This declaration prompted the APC and its candidate, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, to head to court.
At the tribunal’s sitting in Osogbo on Monday, the chairman, Justice Tertsea Kume, also charged respondents to cross-check the list of documents to be tendered to make the process seamless.
Counsel to Mr Oyetola and the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had earlier told the court of his intention to tender some documentary evidence to prove alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act by INEC.
However, counsel to the PDP, Alex Izinyon (SAN), objected to the tendering of the documents.
He argued that the plan ran afoul of Paragraph 3 of the pre-hearing report, which indicated that a list of witnesses should be filed 24 hours before the hearing.
Mr Izinyon urged the court to dismiss the petition for failing to comply with the tribunal’s orders in line with the pre-hearing report.
Counsel to INEC, Paul Ananaba (SAN), aligned himself with Mr Iziyon’s argument and said the attempt by the APC to tender the documents violated the tribunal’s order and the petition should be dismissed.
In his arguments, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Mr Adeleke, said the petitioners should have allowed the respondents access to the documents earlier to cross-check them.
In a counterargument, Mr Fagbemi submitted that paragraph 3 of the pre-hearing report being relied upon by PDP’s counsel did not refer to documentary evidence but to the calling of witnesses.
“My Lord, there can only be consequences if we have violated the court’s order; but in this case, we have not breached any order.
“The paragraph 3 refers only to the calling of witnesses and not to the tendering of documentary evidence.
“There is a difference between witnesses and documents. The issue of consequences does not arise because we have not violated anything.
“It is when we start calling witnesses without following your lordship’s order that they can raise issues. But I’m sure we are not going to breach the court order.
“Therefore, my Lord, we want to start by tendering of documents,” Mr Fagbemi said.
Justice Kume subsequently asked the parties to discuss and agree on how the documents should be tendered seamlessly.
Counsels discussed among themselves and resolved that the documents could be tendered, making the tribunal fix a Tuesday date for the process.