The National Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Asaba today dismissed the applications brought by the Senator Ighoyota Amori, the People Democratic Party, PDP, objecting the INEC subpoenaed witness to testify and present Certify True Copy of card reader unit by unit accreditation record.
The Labour Party, LP, Senatorial candidate, for Delta Central Senatorial District, Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege, is challenging the declaration of Sen. Amori as the winner of the senatorial election before the tribunal.
Amori at the last hearing through applications objected to Omo-Agege’s subpoenaed witness, Mrs. Nnenna Essien, Asst. chief system, ICT department, INEC headquarters Abuja, from testifying before the tribunal and tendering documents of CTC of unit by unit accreditation of voters.
Counsel to Amori, Mr. Akpofure SAN, objected to the INEC witness testifying on grounds, that the witness statement on oath was not filed along with the petition.
He also averred that the witness statement was an amendment to the petition and that the 21 days allowed by law to entertain any amendment has elapsed it should not be allowed.
However counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, had augured to the contrary. He averred that the that the witness is a subpoenaed witness and they is no way they could have filed the witness statement on oath with the petition and that since INEC was a party to the case they could not have order they to produce the document without tribunal order.
Ruling on the two applications today, the Chairman of the 3-man panel, Justice L. M. Boufini, upheld the argument of Omo- Agege’s counsel and dismissed Amori and PDP applications.
The tribunal thereafter admitted the card reader voters’ accreditation documents as exhibit and also admitted Mrs. Nnenna Essien, statement on oath as exhibit.
Mrs. Nnenna Essien, who holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Liverpool on cross examination by Amori’s lead counsel Mr. Akpofure SAN, gave credible evidence at the tribunal.
She told the court that votes cast by alleged voters whose Voter’s Cards were not verified with Card Readers are invalid votes because they came from a breach of an ‘integral part’ of the electoral process.
Hearing on the petition continues tomorrow, Thursday 4, September, 2015.