By Ogbolu George with agency report
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Friday, opened its defence in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), and Osagie Ize-Iyamu, its candidate in the Sept. 28, 2016 governorship election in Edo.
In the case before Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led three-man tribunal, the PDP and its candidate are challenging INEC’s declaration of Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the election.
The petitioners who listed INEC, Obaseki and the APC as respondents, had on the Feb 10 closed its case after calling 91 witnesses and submitting various pieces of evidence.
Onyekachi Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and counsel to INEC, informed the tribunal that his client was ready to open its case although witnesses may not be called.
”We have led copious evidence through cross examination of the petitioners’ witnesses.
”We propose to tender few documents when we need to confront them and enhance evidence already led and at the end of which, if need be, we will call witnesses,” he said.
He thereafter sought the tribunal’s permission to tender an evidence before it, which was not opposed by the counsel to the PDP, Obaseki and APC.
However, counsel to the PDP and Ize-Iyamu, Kemi Pinheiro, pointed out that the evidence tendered by INEC were the same as those that before the tribunal as exhibits.
He said if the evidence are harmonised it would make for smoother proceedings.
Ikpeazu who said his team has gathered its own evidence to tender before the court, asked the petitioners not to meddle into how he organises his defence.
Counsel to INEC prayed the court to adjourn to Monday, while he concedes to the suggestion that parties examine the documents sought to be tendered.
Justice Badamasi, adjourned till Monday for continuation of hearing.