Omission, similarities in statements continue to trail Ogun tribunal proceedings

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As more witnesses from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appeared before the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, cases of omission of necessary information and similarities in witnesses’ statements have characterized the proceedings.

After being cross-examined by counsel to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, a witness, Balogun Ewaoluwa, a part three student of the University of Ibadan, from Remo North said that all that she wrote in her statement were dictated to her by a person she could not remember.

It was again discovered after thorough scrutiny that her unit was deliberately omitted while her statement shared similarities with other witnesses’ statements earlier submitted to the panel.

On the claim of disenfranchisement in her statement, in which she was asked if she
used the voters’ register to claim that 179 voters were disenfranchised, she responded by saying that she never set her eyes on the INEC’s voters’ register

Also, on her claim that some hoodlums loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) came to disrupt the electoral process where she voted, it was later discovered under cross-examination that such a claim was not included in her statement but was hearsay.

Another witness, called by the PDP, Mr Balogun Rahman, deliberately omitted the part of his membership of PDP in his statement, whereas, under cross-examination, it was discovered that he is an active and strong member of party in his capacity as a Youth Leader of Ward 5, Oke Agbo.

When he was asked to sign his signature in furtherance of the cross-examination, counsel to the Petitioners, Chief Chris Uche objected on the ground that the witness’ confidential details will be exposed, which led Prof Osipitan to withdraw the question.

In the same vein, a witness from Ogun Waterside, Olufunlayo John, who claimed to be a businessman turned out to be a fisherman after being cross-examined by counsel to Governor Abiodun, Mr Bode Olanipekun, SAN.

It was also discovered when scrutinized further that the witness could neither read nor write, despite presenting a statement written in English to the panel and without interpretation or indication that the statement was interpreted.

He later disclosed that he was not privy to how his purported statement was written and typed.

Counsel to the Petitioners, Chris Uche, SAN, quickly prayed the panel for an adjournment, in which the sitting was adjourned till Tuesday, July 25 for the continuation of proceedings.

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