Edo Election Tribunal Summons INEC Chairman, Yakubu

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

By Adibe Emenyonu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, will on Friday appear before the Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin to testify, based on subpoena in a petition by Action Peoples Party (APP).

Yakubu’s appearance was sequel to a subpoena signed by the tribunal, which was brought by the Counsel to the APP, Mr. Segun Fiji, to compel the INEC boss to appear before it on Friday.

Consequently, the lead counsel to APP at yesterday’s hearing, hailed the judges of the tribunal for yesterday’s signing of the subpoena that he applied for on December 10 last year, which would be served on INEC’s chairman in Abuja, to compel his appearance in Benin.

He subsequently applied for adjournment.

The lead counsel to Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Mr. Ken Mozia (SAN); and the lead counsel to INEC, O. Osazee, did not object to the application for adjournment.

However, the lead counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), raised objection to the application.

Meanwhile, apart from the APP petition, the Justice Yunusa Musa-led tribunal also heard the petitions of the governorship candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Tracy Agol; and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

The tribunal will also today (Wednesday) commence hearing on the petition by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Mr. Iboi Emmanuel.

During the tribunal sitting, Agol and a witness in her petition, Tawakalitu Umoru, testified and they were cross-examined by the lead counsel to the respondents, Governor Godwin Obaseki, INEC and PDP

But Justice Musa with other Justices, Suleiman Yahaya Abubakar and Olufunmilayo Stanley, in a unanimous ruling on APP’s counsel’s oral application, adjourned till January 15 (Friday) for continuation of hearing.

Earlier, the lead counsel to Agol, Stella Agoha, who opened her case on Monday, and ought to have concluded today, applied for long adjournment, to enable the other witnesses to be at the tribunal, but the tribunal ruled that the petitioner must close her case tomorrow (on Thursday).

Similarly, the lead counsel to APM, Austin Osarenkhoe, opened his case yesterday, while reiterating that he was allotted six days for hearing in the petition, during the pre-hearing sittings, but he still asked for adjournment, for his witnesses to be available to testify.

The oral application was kicked against by the lead counsel to the four respondents in the petition: Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) for INEC), Chief Chris Uche, (SAN), for PDP), Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), for Obaseki and Abiodun Amole (for Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu), who reminded the tribunal that APM came last among the 14 political parties that presented candidates during the September 19 last year’s election in the state.

The tribunal, however, adjourned continuation of hearing in the petition till today (Wednesday), with counsel to the petitioner (APM) reminded that he had five more days to close his case.