Governorship poll saga: Tribunal rejects Peoples Democratic Party pleas for reexamination over inconsistent statements

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta metropolis has rejected the pleas of the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Mr Gordy Uche, seeking reexamination for his witness after certain inconsistencies were discovered in her statement.

Penpushing reports that the party on Wednesday had called a witness, Mrs  Shittu  Omobolanle,  from Makun, Sagamu, to appear before the panel and testify in its favour based on her experience in the Governorship poll of March 18, 2023.

The witness of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in her statement, gave her polling unit number as 27-20-14-020, whereas, her voter’s card indicates 27-20-14-004 as her Polling Unit(PU) number.

Penpushing further reports that counsel to Governor Abiodun, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, pointed out the discrepancy during cross examination, when he asked her to read out the numbers on the two documents.

The petitioner’s counsel Gordy Uche subsequently, attempted to get her to explain the reasons behind the inconsistencies, and argued that opportunity for reexamination should be freely granted to enable his witness explain the facts behind the two numbers, citing the Evidence Act and other authorities to substantiate his stance.

Penpushing also reports that counsels to respondents in their reactions vehemently objected to the argument, on the ground that there was no ambiguity whatsoever in the two documents, and equally cited relevant authorities, including that of the Supreme Court in Natasha v The State, to buttress their positions that reexamination can only be allowed along the line of argument of the petitioners’ counsel if there was any ambiguity in the issue sought to be reexamined.

The petitioner’s counsel in his response to the objection, agreed that reexamination was truly limited to ambiguities only but argued that the discrepancies in the witness’ written statement and voter’s card were an ambiguity within the meaning of the Evidence Act.

The counsel to the Governor replying on points of law, clarified that the issue in question was not an ambiguity, and he invoked legal authorities and judicial decisions defining ambiguity to mean unclear answers.

Penpushing reports that he explained that what occurred during cross examination was a contradiction by the witness not an ambiguity and that re-examination cannot be used to improve the faulty evidence of a witness.

The counsel to All Progressives Congress(APC), Chief Afolabi Fashanu while Supporting Ogunwumiju, urged the tribunal to take judicial notice of the fact that documents speak for themselves, and together, the respective counsel urged the tribunal not to allow the pleas for reexamination as canvassed by the petitioners’ counsel.

Penpushing further reports that the tribunal, in its ruling completely agreed with lawyers to respondents, that the matter at hand was unambiguous and therefore, disallowed the prayer for reexamination as pleaded by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

Meanwhile, in a related development, similarities were also discovered in the statements tendered before the tribunal by Omobolanle and another Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) witness from Ikenne, Awotubo Olalekan, when compared with witnesses’ statements earlier submitted before the panel.

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