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Anambra Tribunal: INEC Opens, Closes Case Without Witnesses

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday opened its defence in the ongoing hearing of petitions at the Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, and closed same without calling any witness.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu - INEC Chairman
Professor Mahmood Yakubu – INEC Chairman

The electoral commission opened its defence in petition No: EPT/AN/Gov/02/2013, brought before the Justice Ishaq Bello-led three-man electoral panel by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the state, Senator Chris Ngige.

Lead counsel to the INEC, Adegboyega  Awomolo (SAN) had at the resumption of hearing yesterday tendered three sets of documents comprising state result sheets, declaration of candidates forms (form EC 8C, Form EC8D and form EC8E, as well as local government results in the disputed election and announced the closure of the INEC case.

However, he didn’t call any witness in spite of the fact that some INEC officials listed as part of the 26 witnesses to testify before the court attended yesterday’s session.

They included the Electoral Officer for Anambra East council, Mr. Nwafor, the state INEC Director of Operations, Mr. Okon Ewa, who were all in the court.

Awomolo had in his brief address before closing the commission’s defence, said they were relying on the documents they had already tendered and the “information obtained during cross-examination of the witnesses called by the petitioners for our defence.”

But Emeka Ngige (SAN) who led the APC and Senator Ngige’s team of lawyers yesterday, said afterwards that the implication of INEC’s inability to call any witnesse was that all the witnesses’ depositions the electoral body filed with regards to the petition would be disconteanced.

Before that decision however, senior counsel for Chief Willie Obiano, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) and Ken Mozie, APGA’s Osita Nnadi (SAN) Okechukwu Anaenugwu, and the INEC, Adegboyega, Awomolo (SAN) had consulted informally.

Yet in another petition No: EPT/AN/Gov/01/2013, the petitioner, Dr. Chike Obidigbo re-opened his case which had been closed earlier to lead further evidence on Willie Obiano’s alleged multiple registration. He tendered an INEC Certified True Copy (CTC) of Oluwakemi/Zainab Street Junction registration Centre Voter Register, Ifako/Soluyi Registration Area of Kosofe local government area of Lagos to show that Obiano is still a registered voter in Lagos.

Obidigbo under-cross examination by the INEC counsel, Awomolo (SAN) denied any knowledge of transfer of voter resistration at Obiano from Lagos to Anambra State. (THISDAYLIVE)

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