Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A witness at the Kogi state National Assembly election Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Pastor Femi Obalemo on Thursday admitted that he is not an expert in electoral matters.
Obalemo made the admission while testifying for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate for the Kogi-West senatorial seat, Senator Dino Melaye.
Meanwhile, Senator Dino Melaye who is challenging the election of Senator Smart Adeyemi in the November 16, 2019, has closed his case at the tribunal.
Answering questions under cross examination, Obalemo, who is also an accountant told the tribunal that he visited 50 polling units during the election.
Earlier in the week, the Petitioner, Senator Melaye, told the tribunal that he visited 564 polling units.
According to Electoral Laws, candidates and their agents are not allowed to move around from one polling units to the other.
In his evidence, on Thursday, who was the last petitioners witness, told the tribunal that he was one of those who inspected the material of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, used for the election as ordered by the tribunal.
When asked about the signatories of the documents he claimed to have inspected, he said he was not one of those who signed it because he was not in the country.
He said the evidence he gave as regards other polling agents were related to him by other agents who were on ground during the election.
When asked if he knows that election can be declared inconclusive, if there is no result, he said, ”I don’t have enough information to agree or disagree”.
After the witness was discharged, the petitioner closed his case.
The tribunal adjourned the case to April 28, 2019.
The electoral umpire, INEC is expected to open its case on the next adjourned date.
Earlier in the week, the tribunal disqualified a witness, Mr. Mark John, from testifying before the tribunal.
He was called to testify before the tribunal two days ago by the petitioner but counsel to Senator Smart Adeyemi, the respondent in the matter, Dr. Dapo Otitoju, objected to his being allowed to give evidence before the tribunal.
In his objection, Otitoju said the statement of the witness was not pleaded as additional witness in the petition.
He also argued that Apart from that John, failed to attach his seal as a lawyer to the statement.
The respondent’s counsel objected to his being allowed to give evidence as a witness in the petition.
After much argument by counsel in the petition, the tribunal adjourned further sitting in the petition to April 21, 2019.
Counsel to Senator Adeyemi, had argued that the witness statement sought to be used was filed and deposed to, on February 26, 2020, 21days after the period allowed by section 285 sub 5 of the Constitution.
He said allowing the statement will extend the days permitted by the constitution to filed the petition. ”Your lordships, based on the above, the disposition can not be used by the petitioner in this Court”.
Justice Isa Sambo, in his ruling agreed with the submission of Senator Adeyemi’s counsel and disqualified the witness.
Another wirness, who testified yesterday, Tolu Segun, from Okekoko Ward, Kabba/Bunu LGA, told the tribunal that he voted at polling unit 009 after which he visited nine other polling units.
According to him, the results and other information he got from the polling units were given to him by the agents which was later forwarded to the Local Government Chairman of the party.