The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal ruled on Monday that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should tender some documentary evidence on Tuesday challenging the result of the July 16 governorship election in the state.
INEC declared Sen. Ademola Oyeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election; a declaration that prompted the APC and its candidate, Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola to head to court.
At the tribunal’s sitting in Osogbo, the Chairman, Justice Tertsea Kume, also charged respondents to cross-check the list of documents to be tendered, with a view to making the process seamless.
Counsel to Oyetola and the APC, Chief 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.
Counsel to the PDP, Alex Izinyon (SAN), however, 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 list of witnesses should be filed 24 hours to the hearing.
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, Prof. Paul Ananaba (SAN), aligned himself with 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, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Adeleke, said the petitioners ought to have allowed the respondents to have access to the documents earlier to cross-check them.
In a counter argument, Fagbemi submitted that the 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 order of the court; but in this case, we have not breached any order.
“The Paragraph 3 refers only to 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 at all because we have not violated anything.
“It is when we start calling witnesses without following your lordships 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,’’ Fagbemi said.
Justice Kume subsequently asked the parties to discuss and agree on how the documents should be tendered in a seamless manner.
Counsel discussed among themselves and resolved that the documents could be tendered making the tribunal to fix a Tuesday date for the process.