Abeokuta – The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Wednesday rejected the pleas of the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Mr Gordy Uche, SAN, seeking re-examination of a witness after certain inconsistencies were discovered in her statement.
The party, had called a witness, Mrs Omobolanle Shittu, from Makun, Sagamu, to appear before the panel and testify in it’s favour based on her experience in the gubernatorial election of March 18, 2023.
In her statement, the witness had gave her polling unit number as 27-20-14-020, whereas, her voter’s card indicates 27-20-14-004 as her PU number.
Counsel to Governor Abiodun, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, SAN, pointed out the discrepancy during cross examination, when he asked her to read out the numbers on the two documents.
Subsequently, the petitioners’ counsel – Gordy Uche SAN – attempted to get her to explain the reasons behind the inconsistencies.
Uche argued that opportunity for re-examination should be freely granted to enable his witness explain the facts behind the two numbers, citing the Evidence Act and other authorities to substantiate his stance.
In their reactions, counsel to respondents vehemently objected to the argument, on the ground that there was no ambiguity whatsoever in the two documents.
They equally cited relevant authorities, including that of the Supreme Court in Natasha v The State, to buttress their positions that re-examination can only be allowed along the line of argument of the petitioners’ counsel if there was any ambiguity in the issue sought to be re-examined.
In his response to the objection, Uche agreed that re-examination was truly limited to ambiguities only but argued that the discrepancies in the witness’ written statement and voter’s card were an ambiguity within the meaning of the Evidence Act.
Replying on points of law, Ogunwumiju SAN clarified that the issue in question was not an ambiguity.
He invoked legal authorities and judicial decisions defining ambiguity to mean unclear answers.
He explained that what occurred during cross examination was a contradiction by the witness not an ambiguity and that re-examination cannot be used to improve the faulty evidence of a witness.
Supporting Ogunwumiju, counsel to APC , Chief Afolabi Fashanu , SAN , urged the tribunal to take judicial notice of the fact that documents speak for themselves.
Together, the respective counsel urged the tribunal not to allow the pleas for re-examination as canvassed by the petitioners’ counsel.
The tribunal, in it’s ruling completely agreed with lawyers to respondents, that the matter at hand was unambiguous and therefore, disallowed the prayer for re-examination as pleaded by the PDP.
In a related development, similarities were also discovered in the statements tendered before the tribunal by Omobolanle and another PDP’s witness from Ikenne, Awotubo Olalekan, when compared with witnesses’ statements earlier submitted before the panel.(vitalnewsngr.com)