Dr Mutiu Agboke, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission in Osun State, says the commission no longer has Senator Ademola Adeleke’s Form CF 001 from the 2018 governorship election.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the tribunal had previously granted the petitioners a subpoena, compelling the REC to produce Adeleke’s Form CF 001.
Form CF 001 contains the nomination form as well as all of its attachments, including the certificates used in the 2018 election.
On August 5, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress filed a petition with the tribunal in Osogbo.
Oyetola and the APC are contesting the election results from 749 polling units in the state’s ten local government areas for various alleged electoral malpractice, particularly over-voting.
Adeleke was declared the winner of the July 16 governorship election by INEC, with 403,271 votes to Oyetola’s 375,027.
Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), counsel to the petitioners, reminded the tribunal of the subpoena it granted and served on REC on November 15 at the resumed hearing on Tuesday in Osogbo.
Olujinmi informed the tribunal that the subpoena issued to REC had not been followed, and thus his second witness in the petition could not be called.
According to him, the witness’ testimony would be based on the aforementioned documents.
According to Paul Ananaba, counsel for the first respondent, INEC, the REC had sent a representative to appear before the tribunal on the order of the subpoena.
Mr Sheu Mohammed, REC representative and INEC Deputy Director on Election and Party Management, told the tribunal that Adeleke’s Form CF 001 was no longer with the commission in the state.
Mohammed stated that the said documents were submitted to INEC headquarters in Abuja following the 2018 governorship election, adding that the state only has photocopies of the said documents.
“The Form CF 001 documents were submitted to INEC headquarters through the party, but photocopies were provided to us for record-keeping purposes.”
“What we have here in the state after the election litigation is Form EC8A series,” he explained.
According to the petitioners’ counsel, the REC was required to go to INEC headquarters to obtain the aforementioned documents.
“It is the duty of the REC to obey the subpoena until your lordship discharges it, and it remains.”
“I am requesting that your lordship direct INEC Chief Officer or any of his officers he may direct to produce the true certified copy of INEC Form CF 001, including all attachments,” he said.
Ananaba, however, disagreed with the petitioners’ counsel, stating that the REC could not order INEC headquarters to produce the aforementioned certificate.
“The subpoena is ineffective, and my position is that REC complied with the subpoena.”
“A representative from REC is here, and REC is not the same as INEC.”
“So, the subpoena has been complied with,” he said, “because the representative of REC is here to inform the court that he does not have custody of the said documents.”
Adeleke’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), objected that because the documents requested by INEC are Certified True Copies (CTC), they could be applied for and paid for without having to appear in court.
Ikpeazu stated that because the petitioners already have CTC, they should be compelled to continue calling the witnesses whose testimony was dependent on the documents requested from INEC.
Alex Izinyon (SAN), counsel to the third respondent (PDP), also stated that because the petitioners already have the documents in question, they should be compelled to call the witness.
Following the counsels’ arguments and counter-arguments, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertsea Kume, adjourned further hearings until November 25 to rule on the subpoena application.
Meanwhile, Rasak Adeosun, the petitioners’ second witness, told the tribunal that there were irregularities and overvoting during the election.
While being cross-examined by respondents’ counsel, Adeosun, the Returning Officer for the petitioner in Olorunda Local Government Area, told the tribunal that BVAS was not used for the election in 749 polling units across 10 local government areas.
Adeosun, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola, stated that he received reports from polling units on election day.
The witness testified that he discovered no substantial compliance with INEC guidelines and the Electoral Act in the contentious 749 polling units.