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We’re Not In Custody Of Adeleke’s Certificates -Osun INEC Tells Tribunal

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Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the Election Petition Tribunal that the state office of the commission was not in custody of the certificates of Senator Ademola Adeleke.

The electoral officer made this declaration on Tuesday at the resumed hearing of the petition filed by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke of the PDP as Governor-elect.

The REC was billed to appear before the panel in line with a Subpoena issued on him to produce form CF001 of Adeleke which contained his credentials used for the 2018 governorship election.

The defence counsels in their argument claimed that the petitioners’ subpoena was directed at a wrong office.

Paul Ananaba, SAN counsel to INEC noted that the subpoena served on the REC has been obeyed by the REC who sent an officer under him who informed the court that it’s the National Headquarters of INEC and not the REC that has the custody of the documents being sought by the petitioners.

The said subpoena according to Ananaba is therefore in law discharged and extinguished same having been obeyed.

The respondents further countered the petitioners for bringing fresh application for an amendment or renewal of the subpoena application, describing it as “an abuse of court process as a subpoena cannot be amended or renewed.

It is also the contention of respondents’ counsel that the fresh oral application for renewal or amendment of the discharged subpoena cannot be countenanced because such an application has to be formal and it must be with the leave of the Tribunal coming outside the pre-hearing. Meanwhile, the petitioners did not do that and so cannot do that orally.

Noting that the Tribunal wouldn’t have signed the earlier subpoena if it had adverted it’s mind to section 69 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the INEC Counsel noted that though the subpoena was not disobeyed, refusal to obey subpoena is remediable by the applicant making use of alternative way of proving their case by making use of the certified true copies already with them.

Counsel for Adeleke, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) in his own objection said since the documents requested to be produce by the INEC are Certified True Copies (CTC), it can be applied and paid for, without necessarily bringing the REC to the court.

He then argued that based on the fact that the Petitioners’ already have the CTC at their disposal, they should be compelled to continue with the calling of the witnesses whose testimony hanged on the documents requested from INEC.

Counsel for PDP, Alex Izinyon, SAN also said that since the petitioners already have the documents in question, they should be compelled to call the witness.

Olujinmi while replying said the respondents’ counsel lost track in the course of their arguments, saying there was an order of the court through subpoena which have not been complied with.

He noted that counsel in the case ought not to do anything that will obstruct the proceeding of the court, saying the issue of the Subpoena is sufficient enough to compel the INEC again to produce the documents.

The tribunal then adjourned ruling on the argument of counsel on the failure of INEC to produce the said documents till Friday, 25th November.

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