The Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu has presented 8,000 documents as exhibits against the victory of Governor Dapo Abiodun, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Abiodun polled 276,298 while Adebutu scored 262,383 in the election.
Adebutu is challenging the victory of Abiodun based on alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act and alleged corrupt practices during the election.
Counsel for Adebutu, Goddy Uche (SAN) presented the documents in various ‘Ghana-must-go’ bags before the Tribunal, sitting at the Magistrate court, Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
He prayed the three-man panel to admit the documents as evidence against Abiodun.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that, the presentation of the “exhibits” followed the instruction of the court in its pre-hearing report that both petitioners and respondents should present their documents for their cases.
Uche said he had served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abiodun and the APC, the first, second and third respondents respectively a 98-page schedule of documents, listing all the documents to be tendered before the court.
The documents, according to him include INEC forms, BVAS reports, ECAs, voters’ registers and printed IREV results.
He also prayed the court to allow him call his witnesses for the commencement of trial.
However, in a swift reaction, counsel for INEC, Peter Olatunbora objected to Uche’s prayers, arguing that the petitioners should have availed the respondents with the documents before presenting them before the court.
Counsel for Abiodun, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju (SAN) asked 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 prayed the court to give the respondents three days to allow them inspect the documents before admitting them as evidence.
In his submission, counsel for the APC, Kunle Kalejaye (SAN) accused the petitioner of 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,” 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.
Kunaza adjourned the case till Thursday, July 6.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, Adebutu’s counsel said, “We came with all our documents, in fact we came with more than ten bags full of documents and yesterday we also filled a schedule of documents where we listed all the documents we are going to tender. It is about 98 pages, it will contain about 8,000 INEC forms, documents, BVAS reports, ECAs, voters’ registers and even the print out 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 can go and look at them.
“As we have assured the Tribunal, we are very ready to proceed, in fact, if the Tribunal wanted even by tomorrow we will call our witnesses, but as it is, we will bring our documents tomorrow, we will witnesses.
“One funny thing is that the order of the Tribunal was even for the Respondents to also bring their own documents and show, but surprisingly, we are here today and they didn’t bring even one document.”