On Monday, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s petition for the Osun State governorship election was requested to be dismissed by the tribunal.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Peoples Democratic Party made the request.
On the basis of an alleged violation of the Electoral Act (amended), Governor Oyetola had petitioned the tribunal to contest the declaration of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the legitimately elected governor of the state.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), requested to present documentary evidence at the resumed hearing on Monday in order to support the claim that INEC violated the Electoral Act.
Alex Izinyon (SAN), the PDP’s counsel, objected to the presentation of the documents on the grounds that it violated Paragraph 3 of the pre-hearing report, which stated that the list of witnesses should be filed 24 hours prior to the hearing.
He stated that the petition ought to be dismissed as a result of the petitioners allegedly disobeying the tribunal order.
Professor Paul Ananaba (SAN), counsel for INEC, made a similar argument, claiming that the petition should be dismissed since the attempt to submit the documents contradicts the tribunal’s decision.
Toeing a different route, Adeleke’s lawyer, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) said that because the petitioners were prepared to tender the documents, they should have given the respondents access to them earlier and allowed them to cross-check, ensuring that the tendering would go smoothly.
In response, the petitioners’ counsel, Fagbemi, claimed that the pre-hearing report’s paragraph 3—which the PDP lawyer had cited—was not in any way relevant to the calling of witnesses but rather to documentary evidence.
He said: “My Lord, there can only be consequences if we have violated the order of the court, but in this case, we have not breached any order.
“The Paragraph 3 refers only to calling of witnesses, not documentary evidence.
“It is when we start calling witnesses without following your Lordship’s order that they can raise issue.
“But I’m sure we are not going to breach the court order. Therefore, my Lord, we want to start by tendering documents.”
The parties then agreed to discuss and decide on how the documents would be tendered in a seamless manner after being requested to do so by tribunal Chairman Justice Tertsea Kume.
The tribunal should rise and return on Tuesday to collect the documents from the bar after all parties must have looked at it, according to Fagbemi, who reported back after a conversation between the lawyers for both parties.
The hearing was later postponed until Tuesday by the tribunal.