Ogun: Tribunal adjourns sitting, as PDP fails to call more witnesses; set to close case earlier - oguncitynews


Tuesday 25 July 2023

Ogun: Tribunal adjourns sitting, as PDP fails to call more witnesses; set to close case earlier

By Yusuf Olatunji 

The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Tuesday adjourned proceedings earlier than expected, when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could not produce more  witnesses as scheduled.

The party's Counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, called only one witness - Ayinde Ridwan Olamilekan from Abeokuta - and hoped to call two further witnesses from Odogbolu but none of the scheduled witnesses showed up.

Chief Uche SAN informed the tribunal that the vehicle conveying the two further witnesses to the venue of the tribunal broke down on the road and therefore made it impossible for them to attend the proceedings, as he prayed the court for an adjournment till tomorrow, which was granted accordingly.

Also, considering the abysmal  response of scheduled witnesses, the PDP,  through it's counsel has changed the  date slated to close it's case to Thursday, against Friday earlier planned. In the meantime, Chief Uche SAN informed the Tribunal that he had earlier today filed the Witness Statement of an Expert Witness - one Chief Reginald Udunze - as well as the Expert Report of the said witness. He informed the Tribunal that as was the practice, he would like to give the lawyers for APC and Governor Abiodun time to peruse those documents since they had just been served. 

Meanwhile, during the short  proceedings, the sole witness who appeared before the panel to testify in favour of PDP, Ayinde Ridwan Olamilekan, from Abeokuta South,  was crossed examined by the counsel to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Bode Olanipekun SAN.

Under cross-examination, Ridwan declared that he could not remember the date he signed the statement he submitted to the tribunal; that is even as similarities were detected in his statement after being compared with others from different polling units.

Ridwan had claimed to simply just be a voter and not a member or supporter of PDP. However, under cross-examination, he revealed that when the events of the Election Day occurred, he decided to report his side of the events to the PDP Ward Chairman and PDP lawyer.  On why he decided to report his grievances during the exercise to PDP lawyer when he he is not a member of the political party and even wrote the statement he tendered before the panel at PDP secretariat, the witness could not give any answer to the question as he kept pretending to not understand questions by asking the lawyers cross-examining him to “come again”. This pretence became so rampant that the Tribunal had to call on PDP’s counsel Chief Uche SAN, to instruct Ridwan appropriately. It was only after Chief Uche instructed Ridwan that Ridwan began to answer questions directly, most of which showed that he was a massive sympathiser of the PDP who was even called on telephone by the PDP Ward Chairman on Election Day.

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