Delta Election Tribunal: Is The Table Turning Against Okowa? As INEC Director Gives Evidence Against Commission, Okowa
There was a mild drama Tuesday at the resumed sitting of Delta State Election Petition Tribunal in Asaba, the state capital, as an Assistant Director with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja gave evidence at the tribunal.
The evidence of the Principal Witness (PW1) in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief O’tega Emerhor, caused a stir at the tribunal, forcing the court to go on break for about 30 minutes to give ruling on the objection that the witness cannot tender document in evidence.
THEWILL recalled that the PW1 who was subpoenaed by the court to confirm the credibility of the Card Readers as used Unit by Unit during the governorship elections in the state, said the documents, later marked P1 and P1(a) respectively, showed, verified and authenticated the record of how the election was conducted.
But lead counsel to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Mr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Timothy Kehinde as well as counsel to INEC, had argued that Principal Witness (PW1) who happens to be an Assistant Director of INEC Mrs. Abimbola Oludunjoye, cannot tender any document because it was neither certified nor contained in the petitioner’s grouse.
Iziyon’s objection and the counter-objection on the point of law from the counsel to Emerhor, Chief Thompson Okpoko, fell on deaf ear as the tribunal ruled in favour of APC’s Emerhor.
Earlier, during cross-examination by Iziyon and PDP’s counsel, Mrs. Oludunjoye said apart from the 12 staff of the commission in-charge of the Information Communication Technology (ICT), no other person has the password to upload the data that were transmitted from the Card Readers.
The INEC staff who claimed to have put up 16 years in the commission and stood by her testimony on oath, told the tribunal that the server for the uploading of information from the Card Readers was shut down after six weeks of the conduct of the election.
According to her, the commission’s headquarters communicated to all the Heads of Departments across the country before it was shut down.
When she was confronted with the question that the Card Readers may contain incorrect information or tampered with by the field workers before it was uploaded, Mrs. Oladunjoye said; “the information in the Card Reader cannot be tampered with,” maintaining; “If there is no network in a particular polling unit, the Card Reader will be moved to the headquarters of the commission where the network would allow the data in it to be uploaded.”
Chief Okpoko, who led Oladunjoye in evidence on four salient points, urged the tribunal not to allow ambiguous objections.
THEWILL recalled that the Labour Party governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, and his counterpart in APC, Emerhor, have been challenging the declaration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as winner of the 2015 governorship election following the alleged fraud that characterised the April 11 governorship election in the state.