Omission, similarities in statements continue to trail Ogun tribunal proceedings, as PDP calls more witnesses

The ongoing governorship election petition tribunal in Abeokuta, Ogun State, has been marked by troubling instances of omission of vital information and striking similarities in witnesses' statements, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presents more testimonies.

During the recent cross-examination by Governor Dapo Abiodun's counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, witness Balogun Ewaoluwa, a part three student from the University of Ibadan hailing from Remo North, revealed that all the contents of her statement were dictated to her by an unidentified person whom she couldn't recall.

Upon close scrutiny, it was discovered that her unit was deliberately omitted from her statement, and her testimony bore uncanny resemblances to earlier submissions made by other witnesses before the tribunal.

Regarding her claim of disenfranchisement, where she alleged 179 voters were affected, she admitted she had not seen the INEC's voters' register, raising questions about the validity of her assertion.

Also, on her claim that some hoodlums loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC)  came to disrupt the electoral process where she voted, it was later discovered under cross-examination that such a claim was not included in her statement but was hearsay.

Another witness, called by the PDP, Mr Balogun Rahman, deliberately omitted the part of his membership of PDP in his statement, whereas, under cross-examination, it was discovered that he is an active and strong member of party in his capacity as a Youth Leader of Ward 5, Oke Agbo.

When he was asked to sign his signature in furtherance of the cross-examination, counsel to the Petitioners,  Chief Chris Uche objected on the ground that the witness’ confidential details will be exposed, which led Prof Osipitan to withdraw the question. 

In the same vein, a witness from Ogun Waterside, Olufunlayo John, who claimed to be a businessman turned out to be a fisherman after being cross-examined by counsel to Governor Abiodun, Mr Bode Olanipekun, SAN.

It was also discovered when scrutinized further that the witness could neither read nor write, despite presenting a statement written in English to the panel and without interpretation or indication that the statement was interpreted.

He later disclosed that he was not privy to how his purported statement was written and typed.

Counsel to the Petitioners, Chris Uche, SAN, quickly prayed the panel for an adjournment, in which the sitting was adjourned till Tuesday, July 25 for the continuation of proceedings.

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