The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 governorship election candidate in Ogun state, Ladi Adebutu, on Tuesday, presented 8,000 documents as exhibits before the election petition tribunal.
Mr Adebutu, in the petition, marked EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023, is challenging the victory of Gov. Dapo Abiodun, bordering on alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and electoral malpractice during the poll.
Counsel to Mr Adebutu, Goddy Uche (SAN), who presented the documents in various “Ghana-must-go” bags before the tribunal, sitting at the Magistrates’ Court, Isabo, Abeokuta, prayed the three-man panel to admit them in evidence.
He explained that the presentation of the exhibits followed the instruction of the court at the pre-hearing stage that both petitioners and respondents should present their documents for their cases.
Mr Uche said that he had served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Abiodun and the All Progressives Congress (APC), being the first, second and third respondents, respectively, with the 98-page schedule of documents.
He added that he had also listed all the documents to be tendered, which included INEC forms, ECAs, voters’ registers and printed IREV results before the court.
Mr Uche, therefore, prayed the court to allow him call his witnesses for the commencement of trial.
However, counsel to INEC, Peter Olatunbora, objected to Mr Uche’s prayers, arguing that the petitioners should have availed the respondents with the documents before presenting them before the court.
Also, counsel to Mr Abiodun, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju (SAN), prayed the court not to admit the documents as evidence, arguing that the petitioner did not follow the laid down procedure for presenting documents before the court.
He urged the court to give the respondents three days to allow them inspect the documents before admitting them as evidence.
The counsel to APC, Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), argued that the petitioner was merely attempting to railroad the court into admitting the documents as evidence.
“The application was served on us very late yesterday (Monday) and I’m just seeing it today.
“The petitioner should give us enough time to allow us go through the documents instead of attempting to railroad the court into admitting them as evidence,” Mr Kalejaye said.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Hamidu Kunaza, in his ruling, gave the petitioners two days to allow the respondents inspect the documents.
Mr Kunaza adjourned the case until Thursday.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, Mr Adebutu’s counsel said, “We came with all our documents, in fact, we came with more than 10 bags full of documents and yesterday we also filled a schedule of documents where we listed all the documents which we are going to tender.
“It is about 98 pages, it contains about 8,000 INEC forms, documents, BVAS reports, ECAs, voters’ registers and even the printout from the IREV.
“But, the respondents said they need time to go and look at them (documents). Well, in the interest of fair hearing, we agreed that they could go and look at them,” he said.