Having called 19 witnesses to defend his case, the winner of August 9 gubernatorial election, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is the first respondent in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has closed his defence before the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal.
This is just as a voter, Aminullahi Rafiu Ayodapo, told the tribunal that he volunteered himself to testify that the August 9 governorship election was free and credible.
However, the second respondent, All Progressive Congress (APC) will on Friday December 19, open its defence.
Lead-counsel to the first respondent, Mr Kunle Adegoke, at the resume of the hearing on Wednesday informed the tribunal that he wanted to close his case having called two persons, Aminullahi Rafiu Ayodapo and Atanda Isaac to testify before the court.
During cross-examination by respondent’s counsel, Chief Nathaniel Oke (SAN), Ayodapo who came from ward 4, unit 9, Ede North Local Government Area, told the tribunal that no voter was chaste away and no qualified voter was disallowed from voting on the day of election.
But, Chief Oke (SAN), queried why the total number of accredited voters was more than number of valid vote in Ayodapo’s unit.
The counsel told the tribunal that 411 people were accredited while 413 voted, but and Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime, asked him to prove it in his final address.
Also, Atanda Isaac, who was the APC agent in ward 1, unit 1, Irepodun Local Government Area, informed the tribunal that all party agents were present when Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s officials displayed the electoral materials before the commencement of accreditation and nobody complained.
During cross-examination, Chief Oke asked the witness to sign; claiming that the statement on oath deposed to by the witness was signed for him and tendered the signature of the witness as exhibit.
Speaking with newsmen after the proceeding, petitioner’s counsel, Chief Nathaniel Oke, said Aregbesola’s counsel has called 19 witnesses as against 43 witnesses called by PDP, saying the court would give consideration to it in their judgement.
But, respondent’s counsel, Mr Ajibola Bashiru, said litigation is not about number of witnesses that you have called, adding that “we have just called those witnesses to demonstrate that the election was free and fair as we are not under any legal obligation to call certain number of witnesses.”