Ogun tribunal: Adebutu opens case, calls witnesses


The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State in the last election, Ladi Adebutu, has started calling his witnesses in the petition he filed against the election of Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The calling of witnesses followed the admission of all undisputed exhibits as tendered from the bar by the petitioners on Thursday.

As the court resumed on Friday, the petitioners‘ counsel, Gordy Uche, told the tribunal that “the petitioners intend to start their trial by calling their witnesses.”

According to the Senior Advocate, he had filed a schedule of witnesses that the petitioners intended to call, in compliance with the pre-hearing report.

With no objections from the respondents, the Hamidu Kunaza-led tribunal permitted the petitioners to call their witnesses.

Uche informed the tribunal that the petitioners intended to call 11 witnesses for the day.

The witnesses were cross-examined by Remi Olatubora, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Taiwo Osipitan, representing Dapo Abiodun and Tayo Oyetibo of the APC.

One of the witnesses, Oduwole Ganiu Adekunle, from Sagamu Local Government Area of the state, alleged that thugs disrupted voting in his polling unit.

Oduwole said the thugs, armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, stormed his polling unit and hijacked ballot boxes and other voting materials.

He added that the thugs also chased INEC officials and voters away, thereby preventing other people from voting.

“My Lord, around 1.47pm on election day, thugs carrying guns disrupted voting in my polling units.

“They started beating and harassing everyone. They took the ballot boxes and papers. Some of them were even wearing APC headbands,” Oduwole said.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen, counsel for INEC, Olatubora, said he took part in the cross-examination to ensure that documents presented before the tribunal originated from the electoral umpire.

Olatubora, while describing himself as an independent party, noted that he had to maintain some level of neutrality, stating that the trial was going on well.

“I basically want to be sure that the documents that are presented before the tribunal originated from INEC. I want to be sure that those who presented INEC’s PVCs and testified as witnesses are also presenting the authentic PVC given by INEC. Having ascertained that, as the lawyer for an independent party, I have to maintain some level of neutrality but the trial is going smoothly,” Olatubora stated.

Also, counsels for the petitioners as well as those of the second and third respondents expressed satisfaction with the process of the trial.

The court resumes on Monday for the cross-examination of more witnesses.

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