The House of Representatives Election Petition Tribunal, sitting at the Ikeja High Court annex office on the petition challenging the Ajeromi Federal Counstituency election cancellation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared that the 3rd responsdent is left with no option but to ensure the closure of his case by Saturday,the 21st day of September.
The Chairman of the tribunal,Justice Hamidu Kunasa vehemently refused further adjournment proposal canvassed by one of the counsels for the 3rd respondents,stressing that the call that they have to close their case on Saturday is not optional.
The respondent’s counsel however,pleaded with the presiding Justice to allow them explore the seven days window afforded them, so as to be able to further arrange the other witnesses along with their star witness,Hon. Kolawole Taiwo,the Federal House of Representatives member representing Ajeromi Federal Counstituency.
“You have to close your case on Saturday it is not optional.” Justice Kunasa affirms
The 3rd respondent as at today proceeding has earlier presented 4 witnesses with additional 11 making 15 altogether and left with 16 more to go according to the counsel.
The 15 witnesses who served as Party Agents of the All Progressives Congress on the election day, all claimed that the 23rd February election was largely flawed with violence perpetrated by alleged thugs, who suddenly invaded their polling units distrupting the ongoing electoral process.
The two lead counsels for the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN and Mr. Pedro Lawal SAN were respectively absent at today’s proceedings.
One of the 2nd respondent’s counsel, Barrister Prisca Ozoilesike, who crossed examined all the APC agents,poked all the witnesses attempting to validate the claim that basis for cancelling the said election was unfounded but they all claimed violent distruption of the process by thugs changed the narrative.
INEC lawyer Mr. Tijani Ishola was also on hand to clearly guide the witnesses to safety, while been cross examined, as he at soon points spoke to the evidence before the tribunal, giving them safe landing before the tribunal.
A witness Mr Gbadegesin claimed that invading thugs damaged six chairs at his polling unit as eligible voters and INEC officials all had to scamper for safety.
Another witness Mrs Evelyn Avoh note that one Mrs Simi was injured at the scene of the fracas and she helped to get her treated far away from the polling unit, she also refuted having knowledge of any result from the unit.
Barr. Prisca however raise concern about certain discrepancies cited in the presentation of witnesses and their response while cross examined.
The star witness Hon Kolawole Taiwo is expected to appear before the tribunal on Saturday for his defence and cross examination, on the case so as to bring to a close the petitioner’s case.