The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal has been told that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is allowed to rectify discrepancies in entries in election result sheets.
Three witnesses called by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, at the resumed sitting of the tribunal on Thursday in Abuja, said they were trained on the operation of INEC’s Manual and Electoral Guidelines before they were engaged as agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the election.
The witnesses – Bello Mukaila, Olatitoye Sodeeq, Iyiola Ismail – (who served as APC polling agent in Osogbo and Ikire) said they learnt, at the training, that INEC reserve the right to correct errors in result sheets.
They also identified some of the result sheets where such discrepancies were corrected.
Some of the result sheets were from polling units won by both APC and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal is hearing the petition by the PDP and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Adeleke witnessed the tribunal’s proceedings on Thursday. He sat from beginning of proceedings (10am) to around 12noon.
The legal team of the PDP and Adeleke got an additional hand on Thursday with the attendance of proceedings by former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Kanu Agabi (SAN).
Agabi only announced his appearance but allowed Onyechi Ikpeazu to conduct the case of the petitioners.
Wole Olanipekun (who led Oyetola’s legal team) also allowed Abiodun Owonikoko (SSAN) to conduct his client’s proceedings. He only intervened when necessary.
Olanipekun contributed to argument, in favour of the 3rd respondent (APC) when Ikpeazu objected to the move by APC’s lawyer, Lasun Sanusi (SAN) to tender a copy of INEC’s Manual and Electoral Guideline through Mukaila.
In a ruling, the tribunal, led by Justice Ibrahim Sirajo upheld the argument by Olanipekun and Sanusi and admitted the document in evidence.
At the commencement of proceedings, Justice Sirajo advised Ikpeazu to be organised. The judge’s advice was informed by the discrepancies noted in the list of lawyers he submitted to court and the one with him.
Ikpeazu announced the names of some lawyers in his team and left some out, an omission the judge noted from the list submitted to the tribunal.
The tribunal Chairman later called out the names of about five lawyers, who were omitted by Ikpeazu, following which the petitioners’ lawyer apologised.
Justice Sirajo then said: “Get more organised please, get more organised. That is all I have to say for today, get more organised.”
The tribunal rose at about 12.30pm, after Olanipekun announced that the 2nd defendants were done for the day.
Proceedings resume on Friday at 10am.