There was a mild drama at the sitting of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) produced blank documents as secondary school certificate and testimonial of the newly sworn-in governor, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is just as the tribunal threatened to invoke its coercive power on INEC if it failed to produce a clear and legible documents tomorrow.
The tribunal during its last sitting had ordered the Chief National Electoral Commissioner of INEC to produce Adeleke’s nomination form and credentials used for the Osun 2018 governorship election.
The order followed the failure of the electoral body to comply with the first order to produce the documents on the ground that it was not in the custody of the Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner who was subpoeaned to produce same.
At the resumed hearing of the petition, yesterday, one Mrs. Joan Arams, who represented INEC produced the blank documents.
While perusing the documents, counsel to Adegboyega Oyetola and APC, Chief Lateef Fagbemi informed the tribunal that the pages containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Adeleke were not legible at all.
He said: “The first document in question has the heading ‘West Africa Examination Council, General Certificate in Education’. Apart from the heading, all the contents therein are blank. The second one is the School Testimonial of Ede Muslim Grammar School and the contents there too are not legible.My Lords, before the INEC can be discharged, we must be clear that the appropriate documents have been produced.”
When called by the tribunal for his reaction, Counsel to INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba said since the documents had been produced, the INEC representative should be asked to leave.
Pressed further on the said unclear certificate of Adeleke, Ananaba said he was not a witness in the matter and could not speak on the said documents.
Counsel for Adeleke, Onyeachi Ikpeazu also agreed that the secondary school certificate of his client was not clear to read, saying, “I can confirm truly that the documents is faint.”
He then argued that since the petitioners already had a copy of the certificate, the witness whose testimony was based on the said documents should be called to make use of the one in the petitioners’ custody.
Counsel for PDP, Alex Izinyon argued that the documents, though faint, could still be admitted in evidence and the petitioners would make reference to it in their final address.
While ruling on the arguments of the counsel, the tribunal contended that the said certificate of Adeleke was truly blank, saying neither the name of the writer of the exam nor the result was showing on the said documents.
The tribunal adjourned to December 3, 2022 for the production of eligible copies of pages of the documents, failing which coercive power of the tribunal will be invoked.