The Chairman of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Elizabethe Ikpejime, has said that the fact that evidence are before the tribunal does not mean they would be relied upon while writing judgement.
The assertion was sequel to the insistence of the counsel to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) to verify the Certified True Copies (CTC) of some registered voters sought to be tendered through a purported forensic expert of Senator Iyiola Omisore, Mr Pius Bakare at the tribunal sitting on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014.
Omisore is challenging the election of Aregbesola before the tribunal.
It was during the afternoon session of the tribunal on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014 that the petitioners’ counsel, Mr Nathaniel Oke (SAN) sought to tender the voters’ registers claimed to have been used by the expert for his analysis.
Olujinmi subsequently insisted that he must look at the documents to confirm whether they were what the petition claimed it to be, saying, “we have not seen these documents before”.
Corroborating the argument, the APC counsel, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) said the respondents team was available on Monday, 1st December, 2014 for the inspection of the registers, but the petitioners did not allow it to take place.
He said that it was the petitioners that deliberately decided to toe the path of delay, adding, “we will not because of that wave our right to look at it to know what we are objecting or consenting to”.
Sensing that the exercise would take time, the tribunal stood down the case by 4:30pm and resumed at 5:00pm.
As the time the tribunal resumed, the first respondents’ legal team had been able to verify the documents for only two local governments.
Appealing to the respondents to hasten the process, the tribunal chairman jokingly said, “we appreciate the fact that you have the right to check them, but we are saying you should close your eyes now and shine them later”.
In response, Olujinmi informed the court that, “when I begin to raise my objections against these documents, you will see the wisdom in what we are doing. The certifications of these documents have been tampered with.
“This is the stage that I can raise these issues and that is why I must look at them”.
The petitioners’ counsel, Oke who also did not object to the checking of the documents by the respondents’ counsel appealed that the process should be hastened.
Asked by the tribunal to find a way out, being an experienced person, Olujinmi said the only help he could render was to hasten the verification the more.
The verification of the documents continued until the closing time and further hearing was adjourned till morning of Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014.