…. Witness Admits Presenting Inaccurate Document to Tribunal
A Petitioner Witness, Dada Moses Bamidele, was on Thursday at the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal confronted with evidence of presentation of certificate that does not belong to the Deputy Governor-elect, Mrs. Monisade Afuye.
Lawyers to the Governor-elect, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji and the All Progressives Congress (APC) tackled Bamidele by putting it to him that the Candidate’s Number on the WAEC Result which he (Bamidele) attached to the petition of Chief Segun Oni to give evidence against the Deputy Governor-elect did not belong to Mrs. Afuye.
The witness admitted errors, discrepancies and inaccuracies in the documents he submitted to the Tribunal which he relied on to give evidence before the three-member Panel.
Counsel to Oyebanji and Mrs. Afuye, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and counsel to APC, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), put it to the witness that “one digit was missing” in the copy of WAEC Certificate the Petitioners filed along with their petition.
Under cross-examination by the two lawyers, Bamidele was compelled to read the conflicting Candidate’s Numbers on the copy of the certificate the Petitioners used in filing their petition and the actual certificate belonging to the Deputy Governor-elect.
Bamidele admitted under cross-examination by Fagbemi that he had never worked in WAEC before and further agreed with the counsel that WAEC is the examination body responsible for the conduct of ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level certificate examinations.
The witness told the Tribunal also under cross-examination that he finished secondary school in 1978 when he sat for his own WAEC school certificate examination.
The witness who had earlier been led in examination-in-chief by a counsel in Oni’s legal team, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi tendered documents which were marked as Exhibits A9, A10, A11 and A12.
But the lawyers to the Respondents discovered in Exhibit A4, which was a letter written to WAEC by Owoseni Ajayi, that the purported Candidate’s Number of Mrs. Afuye submitted for the purpose of enquiry was 1822511, the actual Certificate Number of Mrs. Afuye (then known in 1978 when she sat for the exam as Miss Adegboye) was 18225111.
Fagbemi who availed Bamidele with Exhibit A16, the actual WAEC Certificate belonging to Mrs. Afuye, asked the witness to read to the hearing of the Tribunal Panel members the Certificate Number which he (Bamidele) gave under cross-examination as 1822111.
Fagbemi put it to the witness that one digit of Figure “1” was missing from the WAEC Certificate the Petitioners credited to Mrs. Afuye, with Ajayi urging the Tribunal to protect the witness from Respondent’s counsel.
At this stage, Fagbemi insisted and put it again to the witness and asked him to look at Exhibit A4 and confirmed to the Tribunal that Mrs. Afuye’s Candidate’s Number ends with “Triple 1” with Petitioners counsel Ajayi interjecting again.
As the atmosphere became charged, Fagbemi contended that the he did not want a situation in which such an omission could do a damage to his client’s case urging the Panel to take a judicial notice of it alleging that the Petitioners deliberately wanted to embarrass his client by attributing to her a Candidate’s Number that does not belong to her in the pursuit of their petition.
Olujinmi while further cross-examining Bamidele referred him again to Exhibit A4 (Ajayi’s letter to WAEC) where he (the witness) gave Mrs. Afuye’s purported WAEC Certificate Number as 1822511.
The counsel asked the witness to have a look at Exhibit A16 (the Certified True Copy of Mrs. Afuye’s WAEC Certificate) on Page 7 of the Exhibit and read out the number there. The witness in response again gave the authentic Candidate’s Number as 18225111.
Olujinmi also pointed out the alleged removal of a digit in Mrs. Afuye’s Certificate Number in Exhibit A4 tendered by the Petitioners which gave her Certificate Number as SG 09374.
But again, the lawyer confronted the witness Exhibit A16 and asked him to read out the Certificate Number on the actual WAEC Certificate of Mrs Afuye which the witness gave as SG 092374 with Olujinmi drawing the attention of the Tribunal to an alleged deliberate omission of Figure ‘2’ in the Certificate Number.
In the course of his further cross-examination, discrepancies were discovered in the exhibits tendered by Bamidele was on (Owoseni) Ajayi’s personal statement of result and school certificate.
In the statement of result, eight subjects were recorded for Ajayi as against 7 subjects recorded on his certificate for the same exam.
Having discovered this, Olujinmi fired a question to Bamidele as to why there were discrepancies on the documents he presented as exhibits before the Tribunal with the witness blaming it all on what he called “human error.”
It was after Bamidele was discharged from the witness box that Oni entered the witness box.
During Oni’s examination-in-chief by his counsel, Mr Obafemi Adewale (SAN), a letter purportedly from INEC submitted before the Tribunal responding to request for release of electoral materials was curiously dated 26th October 2022.
But the date the matter came up before the Tribunal was Thursday, 7th October, 2022 while the letter attached to the release of the electoral documents we dated 20th September, 2022.
The materials included Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) machine, Accreditation Report as at 20th September, 2022, and the Summary of Results of Polling Units.
Oni is the first Petitioner in the case while his party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is the second Petitioner.
The Respondents in the petition are Oyebanji (First), APC (Second), Mai Mala Buni (Third), INEC (Fourth) and Mrs. Afuye (Fifth).