By Tunde Oyekola
The All Progressives Congress (APC) who is the second respondent in the petition filed by Senator Iyiola Omisore and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has opened its defense as the first respondent, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, personally appeared before the
three-member election petitions tribunal on Friday.
APC opened its defence following the closing of defence by first respondent who had spent 8 days out of 10 days allocated to him by law to call his witnesses.
At the resume hearing yesterday, lead counsel to APC, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who is the vice presidential candidate of the party, arrived the court at 9.45a.m as shout of “VP” rented the air.
He arrived the court alongside Governor Aregbesola who personally appeared before the court for the first time since the beginning of the petition.
The APC called four witnesses who are party agents. They are- Isau Waheed Olawale, Musa AbdulBaki, Opeyemi Olalemi and Otegbayo Oyebanji Ayomide.
Olawale told the tribunal that he was the polling agent for ward 5, unit 5, Ejigbo Local Government, adding that nobody was allowed to vote twice in the August 9 governorship election in the state.
During cross-examination by petitioner’s counsel, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), he maintained that he signed form EC8A in which the total score of result was recorded, adding that he also signed his written deposition in court.
Meanwhile, Oke asked the witness to sign which he did and the counsel tendered the signature of the witness as an exhibit.
Other witnesses, Abdul Baki from ward 1, unit 3 Osogbo Local Government, Olalemi from ward 2 unit 1, Atakumosa East Local Government and Ayomide from ward 8 unit 5, Obokun Local Government, told the tribunal that all party agents were present at the polling unit and non of them complained against the process of the election.
Led in evidence by respondents’ counsel, Osinbajo, Femi Falana and Ayotunde Ogunleye, the four witnesses also informed the tribunal that votes were counted in the presence of everybody present at the polling centres and votes were not allocated to political parties.
They all denied being members of O’Yes which the petitioner alleged were used to rig the election for Aregbesola.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the sitting, Governor Aregbesola said he was at the tribunal to fraternize with Professor Osinbajo who is one of the leading counsel to the governor.
Aregbesola who expressed confidence at the tribunal in handling the case said that he is looking forward to a sound judicial pronouncement and the ultimate judgment.
According to him, “I am here to honour the call of the court and to fraternize with the Vice Presidential Candidate of our Party.
“To me, it is the best thing that could happen in our nation now. It is a pride for me that our party has found one of my lawyers worthy of the nomination. He is a paragon of excellence when it comes to legal profession and he is a man of impeccable character”.
On the tribunal proceedings, Aregbesola said that the entire proceedings were stimulating.
“I look forward to a sound judicial pronouncement and the ultimate judgement” , he said.
Also speaking, Professor Osinbajo expressed confidence that the APC would prove that the
party won the August 9 Osun governorship election.
According to him, “we hope to see clearly that the election in Osun was free and fair and that APC won squarely. We are confident that our witnesses performed creditably well and we hope to see that it is made clear to all.
Omisore was represented at the tribunal by Hon. Adejare Bello, the PDP deputy governorship candidate.