VOICE AIR MEDIA
… Tribunal Threatens to Invoke Coercive Order on INEC
… Request INEC to bring whole file Saturday
There was a mild drama at the sitting of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) produced blank documents as the Secondary School Certificate and Testimonial of the newly sworn-in Governor of the State, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is just as the tribunal threatened to invoke its Coercive Power on INEC if it fails to produce a clear and legible documents on Saturday December 3, 2022.
The order followed the failure of the electoral body to comply with the first order to produce the documents on the ground that it was not in the custody of the Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner who was subpoeaned to produce same.
While perusing the documents, counsel to Mr Adegboyega Oyetola and the APC, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) informed the tribunal that the pages containing the Secondary School Certificate and Testimonial of Adeleke were not legible at all.
He said: “The first document in question has the heading ‘West Africa Examination Council, General Certificate in Education’. Apart from the heading, all the contents therein are blank. The second one is the School Testimonial of Ede Muslim Grammar School and the contents there too are not legible.
He then argued that since the petitioners already had a copy of the certificate, the witness whose testimony was based on the said documents should be called to make use of the one in the petitioners’ custody.
Responding again, Fagbemi said, “My Lord, if somebody writes exams, his scores will be in the result, in this one being produced here, those scores are not showing.
“Before your Lordships adjourned the last time we came here, we had the understanding that somebody will produce a clean and legible documents and that was why the respondents pleaded that we come today.
“For instance, my Lords, my learned friends are saying they can see Ede Grammar School on the testimonial, but the address underneath is not showing. My Lords need to see all these, because they are very germane to our case,” Fagbemi argued.
While ruling on the arguments of the counsel, the tribunal contended that the said certificate of Adeleke was truly blank, saying neither the name of the writer of the exam nor the result was showing on the said documents.
The tribunal Chairman said: ” We have also looked at the said documents. The document headed and quote: West African Examinations Council does not contain the name of the person who took the examination. The subjects engrained and contained there, those material facts are blank and vacant, the evidential value of the said documents will be difficult to determine in the event that the document is put in evidence.
“Similarly, the location of Ede Muslim Grammar School quote and unquote doesn’t appear in the said document. So, the first respondent has not complied in full with the order of this tribunal in producing the document legible enough for the purposes of evidence of the witness whose evidence is dependent on the said documents”, the panel ruled.
Returning from the break, counsel for INEC told the tribunal that despite the efforts made, his client could not get a clearer certificate of Adeleke in his custody, saying the only way forward was to bring the original file containing the documents in question.
He then appealed that if the Petitioners have a better copy, they should produce it and it will not be objected to.
In line with his arguments, the tribunal asked the INEC counsel to choose a date not beyond Saturday, December 3 for the production of the file containing the documents or a clearer documents in question.
When the panel returned, the INEC counsel then applied for adjournment till Wednesday 7th December to bring the documents in question to which he said he was ready to lose one day of his day during defence.
While ruling, the tribunal described the application for adjournment as unfortunate, saying “the case is reluctantly adjourned to 3rd December, 2022 for the production of eligible copies of the pages of the said documents, failing which coercive power of this tribunal will be invoked.