The Kogi West election tribunal holding in Abuja today sat after an adjournment on Thursday 30th April, 2020.
The counsel of the 2nd Respondent (Senator Smart Adeyemi) – Dr. Oladapo Otitoju, who was expected to present his witnesses today failed as he could not bring forward any witness.
Dr. Otitoju approached the tribunal his morning stating that at pre-hearing, he acknowledge that he would bring all their witness but later agreed to streamline their witnesses.
He further said that during the adjournment he has reviewed the evidences of the petitioner’s witnesses and found that as the second respondent, have seen evidence that some witnesses of the petitioner have lied on oath and have admitted so. “On this, we rest our case on the evidences tendered by all the 70 witnesses of the petitioner” he said. He thereforeon this note close our case.
Also, the counsel of the 3rd respondent (APC)- M.Y. Abdullahi, Esq said he is not calling any witness on the ground that he has been able to elicit evidence during the cross examination of the petitioners witnesses that are in support of the 3rd respondent side and hereby apply to close their case.
The Petitioner’s Counsel- Prof. Wahab Egbewole, SAN addressed the tribunal that the next stage is for parties to file addresses and since the respondents have not called any witness, the petitioner will file first and will do the needful.
INEC I agreed Patialy in the sense that the first respondent did not call any witness but the evident elicited from the petitioners witnesses support the first respondent pleadings, “it is deemed that we have called witnesses . Therefore urge the tribunal to let the first respondent to file first” he pleaded.
Dr. Otitoju however, reference paragraph 46 order 10-11 of the first schedule and therefore objected that the petitioner file first, citing various authorities.
The Petitioner’s Counsel- Prof. Wahab Egbewole, SAN enlightened the tribunal that the issue of discussion is who file an address first, and paragraph 46 orders 10.11.12 which they have acknowledged that paragraph 11 can’t be in isolation of 10.
He stressed that from the wordings of the paragraphs especially 11, it is only when the other parties ie respondents calls evidence that the paragraph can be relied upon.
He also noted that the learned friends have tried to distinguish the paragraph as been different from calling witnesses and that since they have cross examined the witnesses presented by the petitioner, they have called witnesses. “Eliciting evidence is different from calling witness by the paragraph 11 that was cited.
He therefore told the tribunal that the authorities cited by the respondents:
1 – Focus on filing address out of time and not who file first.
2- authorities cited by the 3rd respondent is also not relevant in the matter before the Lordship because they both determined weather evidence can be elicited during cross examination without the party calling witnesses of their own.
3- authority by the 3rd respondent state weather the written address was filed out of time and not relevant in this matter as to who file an address first.
On which party to file addresses first, he emphasized that eliciting evidence is different from calling witness and based on that, they are not entitled to file written address first, he said.
The panel after hearing the various arguments adjourned to Wednesday 6th May, 2020 to determine who file first.