Segun Ayinde, Abeokuta
Nigeria Police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have released multiple evidence against the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oladipupo Adebutu on the allegation of vote buying.
This follows the sitting of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, as it resumed proceedings on Tuesday.
Evidence were tendered through the counsel to the 2nd respondent(Gov. Dapo Abiodun), Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN. The documents are:
Reports from NDLEA, dated 18th March, 2023, in relation to possession of preloaded ATM cards with inscription of Mrs Caroline Adebutu, mother of the PDP governorship candidate, Oladipupo Adebutu.
Others include: Police Investigation Report inpresct of bribery etc dated 10th May 2023 and updated investigation report case of bribery, conspiracy undue influence etc dated 7th June, 2023
All the documents were accordingly certified and tendered, after he had earlier prayed the court for 30 minutes stand down to enable the second respondent tidy up some issues.
Counsel to the petitioners, Gordy Uche, SAN, in his reaction objected to all the tendered documents, saying there was earlier agreement among the parties during pre-hearing that a party seeking to tender documents must give the other side 24 hours notice before tendering the documents.
Uche noted that the documents about to be tendered were never front-loaded in the petition, adding that two of the reports were just certified on Monday 7th, 2023.
He, however reserved his objection till his final address, including the WAEC certificate of the 2nd respondent tendered, as he prayed the tribunal for 2-hour stand down to study the documents accordingly, which was granted by the panel.
Counsel to the 2nd respondent, Wole Olanipekun , SAN, agreed with the counsel to the petitioner that a stand down was necessary to enable them study the documents but felt that 1 hour would be enough.
The Director of All Progressives Congress, APC’s governorship campaign, Apostle Solomon Sanyaolu, later appeared before the panel after resumption, in which he confirmed the WAEC result of Governor Dapo Abiodun to be original in line with paragraphs 86 &87 of his statement of oath when cross examined by counsel to the 2nd respondent.
Sanyaolu also confirmed the distribution of ATM cards by Adebutu during the polls, by submitting statement of account to that effect, in line with paragraph 51 of his statement of oath, including delivery note of the preloaded ATM cards.
The witness, while being cross examined by the counsel to the 3rd respondent, Mr Tayo Oyetibo SAN, said he saw the agents of the petitioner, Oladipupo Adebutu, openly distributing ATM Cards which was reported to the Police and necessary investigation was carried out; the report that has since been tendered before the panel and marked as RA17.
He was further asked to confirm that the petitioner ordered 200,000 units of ATM cards loaded with N10,000, on the 16& 17th March. The total amount deployed to buy the ATM CARDS and voters totaling 2 billion, 291 million five hundred thousand Naira only, from Account No:- 24092604, in which Account Holder indicated Oladipupo Adebutu.
Meanwhile, counsel to the 2nd respondent, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, formally applied to close the case of the 2nd respondent.
The tribunal, therefore, granted the prayer of the counsel to the 2nd respondent, as Interim Police Report marked as RA15 while that of the NDLEA marked as RA16. Also, the original result of the 2nd respondent submitted was accepted as an exhibit of the panel in tandem with it’s procedure.
The tribunal, then adjourned the case till Wednesday 9th August , 2023 for continuation of hearing.