Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A witness at the Ekiti Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, Adunmo Sunday, on Monday, testified to the credibility of the polls describing it as free and fair.
He told the Tribunal that contrary to the allegations of bias, violence, vote buying and general malpractices by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Prof. Olusola Kolapo, who are the petitioners, the election was devoid of rancor and violence.
Sunday, who testified as a Respondent witness was led in evidence by counsel to Governor John Fayemi, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
He informed the tribunal headed by Justice Suleiman Belgore, that the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were not biased against any parties.
Sunday, who was the Deputy Director General of JKF Campaign Organisation, maintained that it would be a day dream for anybody or group to say that the election was not free, fair, credible and acceptable.
The witness, who claimed to be in the situation room established by the campaign organisation to monitor the election, told the tribunal that he never got any reports of violence, vote buying and any malpractice and that all agents of political parties that participated in the election signed the result sheets.
Besides, he further informed the tribunal that law and order were effectively and sufficiently maintained by police and other security agents during the poll.
“It is not true that INEC favored John Kayode Fayemi in the election. They allegation of vote buying is also not true and in fact, the election is one of the best conducted by INEC,” the witness further said.
However, under cross examination by Chief Roland Otaru SAN, counsel to the petitioners, the witness, who tendered the judgment of FCT High Court delivered by Justice Othman Musa, said that he was not a member of the Action People’s Party (APP) which instituted the case that sought to disqualify Governor Fayemi from contesting the July 14 election but dismissed by the court.
The witness admitted before the tribunal that his depositions on oath were based on reports obtained from other All Progressives Congress (APC) agents during the election.
The PDP and Prof Kolapo had filed the petition, praying the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election on the ground that they scored majority of the lawful votes.
They alleged that victory of Governor Fayemi was as a result of vote buying, wide spread rigging, malpractices and that INEC officials favoured the governor during the election.
Meanwhile, Governor Fayemi, who was present at yesterday’s proceeding, told journalists that he was confident that the tribunal will do justice to all issues raised in the petition by petitioners.
Also, his counsel, Fagbemi expressed optimism that the tribunal will be able to complete hearing of the petition within the time allowed by law on the ground of the steady progress being made by the tribunal and cooperation of counsel to parties.