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Edo guber: INEC opens tribunal defence, tenders ward collation results

Edo guber: INEC opens tribunal defence, tenders ward collation results
Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki
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The Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has admitted in evidence the collation results for 10 Wards in Uhunmwode Local Government Area of the state copies of Form EC8B.

The Independent National Electoral Commission opened its defence in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The PDP and its candidate are challenging the declaration of Godwin Obaseki as the winner of the September 28 governorship poll by the electoral umpire.

The petitioners had listed the INEC, Obaseki and the All Progressives Congress, as the first to third respondents, respectively.

At the resumption ‎of hearing on Friday, counsel to the INEC, Onyechi Ikpeazu, sought to tender the form EC8Bs for 10 wards in Uhunmwode Local Government Area of the state, which were admitted by the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, as exhibits IR01 (1-10).

Ikpeazu had also added that more documents would be tendered while witnesses would be called, “if need be”.

Although the prayer of the first respondent was not opposed by the other respondents, they urged it to prepare a schedule of the other documents it intended to submit before the tribunal in order to expedite its case.

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But counsel for the petitioners, Kemi Pinheiro, argued that since some of the documents produced by the INEC and verified by the parties were already before the tribunal, it would not be necessary to tender same with two exhibit numbers.

Pinheiro, therefore, urged the first respondent to call an oral evidence to identify the documents.

However, Ikpeazu noted that any similarity in the documents was immaterial as the intention of INEC to tender them was to support its‎ case, even as he prayed the tribunal to grant the affected parties till Monday to prepare the schedule and examine the documents.

But Pinheiro said that while the petitioners did not object the oral application, the two days requested by INEC should count as part of the 10 days allotted to it.

‎However, Justice Badamasi, directed the first respondent to prepare the schedule, which should be served to the others parties before 6 pm on Friday.

He also directed all parties or their representatives to participate in assessing the documents on Saturday, which he said would not be deducted from the days allotted to INEC.

The ‎petition was later adjourned to February 20 for the continuation of hearing.

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