By Joshua Oladipo and Victor Adeoti
Dr Mutiu Agboke, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun, says the commission is no longer in possession of Sen. Ademola Adeleke’s Form CF 001 used in the 2018 governorship election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the tribunal had earlier granted subpoena application to the petitioners, compelling the REC to produce Adeleke’s Form CF 001.
Form CF 001 is the nomination form and all its attachments, including the certificates used in the 2018 election.
Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola and APC had on Aug. 5 submitted a petition before the tribunal in Osogbo.
Oyetola and APC are challenging the election results from 749 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state for various alleged electoral malpractice, especially over-voting.
INEC had declared Adeleke as the winner of the July 16 governorship election, having polled 403, 271 votes against 375,027 polled by Oyetola.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday in Osogbo, Counsel to the petitioners, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), reminded the tribunal of the subpoena it granted and served on REC on Nov.15.
Olujinmi told the tribunal that the subpoena on REC has yet to be obeyed and as such his second witness in the petition could not be called.
According to him, the testimony of the witness would be based on the said documents.
Counsel for the first respondent, INEC, Paul Ananaba, told the court that the REC had sent a representative to appear before the tribunal on the order of the subpoena.
The REC representative, Mr Sheu Mohammed, who is INEC Deputy Director on Election and Party Management, told the tribunal that the said Adeleke’s Form CF 001 was no longer with the commission in the state.
Mohammed said after the 2018 governorship election, the said documents were submitted to INEC headquarters in Abuja, adding that they only have the photocopies of the said documents in the state.
“The Form CF 001 documents was submitted to INEC headquarters through the party, but photocopies were given to us for the purpose of record.
“What we have here in the state is Form EC8A series, after the election litigation,” he said.
The petitioners’ counsel said the REC had the duty to go to INEC headquarters to obtain the said documents.
“Until your lordship discharge the subpoena, it is the duty of the REC to obey it and it remains.
“I am applying that your lordship direct INEC Chief Officer or any of his officer he may direct to produce the true certified copy of INEC Form CF 001, including all the attached documents,” he said.
But, Ananaba disagreed with the petitioners’ counsel, adding that REC could not ordered INEC headquarters to produce the said certificate.
“The subpoena is incompetent and my position is that REC has complied with subpoena.
“The representative of REC is here and REC is different from INEC.
“So, the subpoena has been complied with, because the representative of REC is here to tell the court he is not in custody of the said documents,” he said.
In his objection, Adeleke’s Counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), said that since the documents requested to be produced by INEC are Certified True Copies (CTC), it could be applied and paid for, without necessarily bringing to the court.
Ikpeazu said based on the fact that the petitioners already have CTC at their disposal, they should be compelled to continue with the calling of the witnesses whose testimony hanged on the documents requested from INEC.
Also, Counsel to the third respondent (PDP), Alex Izinyon (SAN), also said that since the petitioners already have the documents in question, they should be compelled to call the witness.
After the arguments and counter arguments by the counsels, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertsea Kume, adjourned further hearing until Nov. 25 to rule on the subpoena application.
Meanwhile, the second witness called by the petitioners, Rasak Adeosun, told the tribunal that there were irregularities and over voting during the election.
Adeosun, who is the Returning Officer for the petitioner in Olorunda Local Government area, while being cross examined by counsel to respondents, told the tribunal that BVAS was not used for the election in 749 polling units in 10 local government areas.
Adeosun, who is also Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Oyetola, said he received reports of the happenings in the polling units on the election day.
The witness said he discovered that there was no substantial compliance with the INEC’s guidelines and the Electoral Act in the contentious 749 polling units.