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Mr. Emmanuel Damis, a staff member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), appeared before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday as a subpoenaed witness. He presented evidence of Mr. Peter Mbah qualifications.
The ongoing session at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal involves the hearing of the petition lodged by Mr. Chijioke Edeoga from the Labour Party against Peter Mbah, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Edeoga approached the tribunal, praying for the disqualification of Mba on the grounds of an alleged NYSC certificate forgery.
As the subpoenaed witness took their place in the witness box to tender the evidence documents, objections were lodged by the counsels representing the second and third respondents, disputing the admission of the documents and disallowing Mr. Eyitayo Fatogun, the petitioner’s counsel, from conducting a re-examination of the witness.
In defiance of the objections, the INEC staff proceeded to tender Mbah’s certificates, which were originally submitted together with his governorship nomination form.
According to the witness, the documents currently in possession are Form EC9 and its associated attachments, which specifically relate to the Enugu State governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The LP counsel sought permission to present the documents as exhibits, and the tribunal, recognizing their relevance, admitted them as evidence.
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In his argument, Mr. Fatogun, the petitioners’ counsel, referred to a wide range of cases that he believed justified the evidence provided by the subpoenaed witness.
Objections to the admissibility of the documents were raised by both the PDP and Mr. Mbah. However, they chose to reserve their objections for the written addresses.
Based on the argument that a witness must first swear to a witness deposition on oath, the counsels representing Mr. Mbah and the PDP objected to the witness’s evidence. They bolstered their stance by citing various authorities.
Mr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), the counsel for the PDP, while conducting a cross-examination of the witness and raised questions regarding the membership register of the LP submitted to the commission before the election. The witness, Damis, was unable to find Mr. Edeoga’s name in the register as the Isiuzo LGA was not included in the list provided by the subpoenaed witness.
The witnesses, identified as Ezeme Ifesinachi, Lt.-Col. Chizoba Ugwu (Rtd) from Obollo-Etiti, Joseph Ada, and Jonas Okwor, all claimed to be party agents. They provided their testimonies during the proceedings and hailed from Obollo-Etiti in Udenu Local Government Area.
According to the witnesses’ testimonies, there were irregularities in the result declared by the INEC specifically for Udenu LGA.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice M.K Akano, clarified that the ruling on the objections raised by the respondents will be deliberated upon in conjunction with the final judgement.
Justice M.K Akano announced the adjournment of the case until July 12, resuming the hearing on that day.