Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate in the 2016 governorship candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Friday opened their case in their petition challenging the declaration of Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress, APC, by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the winner of the Edo governorship election of 2016.
The PDP and its candidate are challenging the outcome of the election before Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led three member tribunal in Benin City, with INEC, Obaseki and the APC listed as first, second and third respondents respectively.
The party closed it case on February 10 after calling different witnesses and tendering evidences before the tribunal.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, INEC counsel Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) informed the tribunal that his client was ready to open its case, although witnesses might not be called.
“We have led copious evidence through cross examination of the petitioners’ witnesses.
“We propose to tender few documents when we need to confront them and enhance evidence already led and at the end of which, if need be, we will call witnesses,” he said.
Ikpeazu thereafter sought the tribunal’s permission to tender as evidence 10 copies of form EC8B, being ward collation result for wards in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of the state.
Counsel to the petitioners, Mr Kemi Pinheiro, those of Obaseki, Mr Ken Mozia, and APC, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, all did not oppose the application for tender.
However, Pinheiro observed that since the documents sought to be tendered as evidence by INEC were same as those before the tribunal as exhibits, “it will make proceeding smoother if we harmonise the documents with a schedule during trial.”
He argued that the form EC8B document tendered was the same as exhibit PO4 (154-163) tendered by the petitioners.
“If not harmonised for different exhibit numbers, this will create precipice of confusion.
“I am saying that since the petitioners’ document and those sought to be tendered by INEC are from same source, I thought INEC should call oral witness to identify the exhibits before the tribunal,” he said.
Ipeazu, however, replied that “we have brought documents we have front loaded to support our case. They have done theirs; it is not for the petitioners to determine how we should organise our defence even if these documents are the same.
“I am therefore asking for an adjournment to Monday while I concede to the suggestion that parties examine the documents sought to be tendered.
“I also intend to interact with electoral officers we may call as to who I wish to tender as witnesses,” he added.
Ruling, the tribunal chairman admitted the documents as exhibit IR (1-10) and ordered INEC to serve the petitioners and the other respondents with its schedule of the other documents to be tendered before the tribunal.
Justice Badamasi also ruled that parties should use Saturday to examine INEC documents sought to be tendered and adjourned till Monday.

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