Petitioners of the 2016 Edo gubernatorial election – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and her candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu – yesterday, brought more witnesses before the election tribunal sitting at the High Court in Benin.
The witnesses varyingly owned up during cross-examination to having multiple signatures and testifying statements contradicting both their deposition and the exhibits they relied upon to defend their testimonies.
The witnesses – Omorogieva Osayemwenre, Elizabeth Edomwandagbon, Jonah Osazuwa and Johnbull Idehen – claimed to have functioned as agents in Ovia North East local government area.
It must be recalled meanwhile, that the petitioners have named the INEC, Obaseki and the APC as first, second and third respondents respectively in the petition.
INEC had declared Obaseki winner of the Edo governorship election after he won more than 319,483 votes to defeat Ize-Iyamu, his closest rival, whose votes totalled just over 250,000.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the witnesses, who adopted their October 19, 2016, deposition statements on oath as their evidence at the tribunal, were unable to reconcile the figures they allocated to APC and PDP at the election in their witness statement with the election result sheets and the voters register in terms of accreditation and over-voting.
Principal Witness, Mr. Omorogieva (PW 72), who complained of over-voting in his statement on deposition prevaricated when shown the voters register – exhibit PO 288 (8) for the unit under dispute.
When asked whether there was accreditation before voting, he said, “Yes, there are tickings on both sides of the voters register. But in paragraph 4(e) of his deposited witness statement, he had stated that there was no accreditation”.
Omorogieva, who also functioned as PDP agent in Oghode ward in Obaretin village in the same council area, said, “Everything I said in my deposition is as correct as I made it. I stated that there was either no accreditation, over-voting and wrongful collation of results”.
However, Omorogieva soon owned-up that there was accreditation as indicated in the voters register when confronted in the dock with the document.
For Madam Elizabeth Edomwandagbon, when shown exhibit PO 290 (11) and 290 (13), she confessed to accreditation, but claimed otherwise in her witness statement.
The visibly confused witness halted between two opinions when asked, “Where did you see the voters register during the election?”
She replied, “I saw the voters register at the collation centre. No, I saw it first at the party secretariat”.
Besides, when shown exhibit 4 (78), the result sheet for unit 14, she agreed that there was no result for the unit and that it was due to typographical error.
Meanwhile, another witness, Jonah Osazuwa said, “I have so many signatures. The signature my party sent to INEC is different from the one I signed in my witness statement. The signatures are not the same but they belong to me”.