By Our Reporter
Proceedings started at the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja Thursday with the presentation of a report by the Osun State branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) election monitoring group. The representative of the group was cross examined by counsels to the All Progressives Congress (APC) , Alhaji Lasun Sanusi (SAN), John Bayeshea representing the Osun State Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and Mr. Kpondu, counsel to the Imdependent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal was thrown into a brief spell of laughter when its chairman, Mohammed Sirajo, stated that an affirmation done either with or without, the Bible or Quoran, is an oath. He stated that at the court where he presides they don’t use either of the holy books because people started stealing them. So they decided to adopt personal affirmation as oaths for witnesses. He further buttressed this by stating that despite oaths with the holy books people still carryon, howsoever, they like.
The proceedings reached a climax with the entry of Mr. Samuel Oduntan, an expert Statistician recruited by the petitioner, Sen. Ademola Adeleke governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , to review alleged obvious discrepancies in the pink copies of forms EC8As issued to all the political parties at the polling units and the copies of same retrieved from INEC office. The report was a summary of his findings after physical inspections and statistical analysis of all the forms EC8As.
His report was premised on three key issues; over voting, non accreditation of voters, and ballot count verification. His report indicated a total of 13,994 excess score illegally and inexplicably added to the scores of the APC candidate, Governor Gboyega Oyetola by INEC officials. If this was deducted, the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke won the polls of September 22, 2018 and the rerun of September 27, was a contrived illegality.
INEC counsel questioned why Oduntan didn’t mention the use of the voters register in his averrement but the Statistician replied that it was in his report. He also stated that he was not in osun for the elections. He affirmed that he based his report solely on the documents provided to him, that is, the pink copies of forms EC8As from the petitioner and certified true copies of same retrieved from INEC office.
Mr. John Bayeshea counsel to Governor Oyetola put to him that he isn’t an election expert but a Statistician. He also asked if he was being paid and he replied that as a professional he deserves his fees. Thereafter, Alh. Lasun Sanusi SAN, lawyer to APC also cross examined the witness. He asked him why his report was limited to only 342 polling units out of the 3100 polling units in the state stating that was a mere 8% but Mr. Oduntan countered that the inspection and analysis covered the entire polling units but the 342 or 11% were the polling units with alleged discrepancies.
The tribunal chairman adjourned sitting till Friday at 12:48pm.