By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—COUNSEL to Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Onyechi Anumonye, has attributed the wrong accreditation of voters during the September 28, 2016 governorship election in Edo State to the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, personnel it employed as ad-hoc staff.
Anumonye stated this while cross examining one Alonge Mathew, an All Progressives Congress, APC, party agent for Governor Godwin Obaseki in the election.
During cross examination, he asked the witness to clarify whether some of the electoral officers who were members of NYSC, accredited voters by ticking their names twice on the left and right sides of the voters’ register instead of once.
The witness said. “Is it not true that some of the electoral officers who were NYSC members marked the voters’ register twice during accreditation instead of once? As a human being, you can also make mistakes.”
Also, during cross examination by APC counsel, Dr Kayode Olatoke, SAN, the witness affirmed that there was ticking on the left and right hand sides of the voters’ register during accreditation by INEC officials.
However, the witness, under cross examination by PDP counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, stated that he was not in a position to know whether INEC staff made mistakes in the accreditation process or not.
In a related development, Anthony Okoro, another agent to Obaseki, also in response to INEC counsels cross examination, stated that he didn’t know whether the NYSC members were not permanent staff of INEC.
He told the tribunal that he was only accredited once. He stated, when being cross examined by PDP counsel, that the voter’s register of his polling unit was ticked on both left and right hand sides signifying accreditation of voters.
Another witness, Nosa Joseph, also noted the non- ticking of his name on the voters’ register during the election.
Joseph, who was agent to Governor Obaseki during the election, was made to sign the same signature signed on his deposition statement by PDP counsel, Roland Otaru, SAN, which was admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit by the tribunal.
Osaretin Enaruna, an APC agent from Ovia North-West Local Government Area, also told the tribunal that INEC official’ accredited voters by only ticking on the right hand side.
His APC party agent’s card where he admittedly wrote his name and signed, was admitted in evidence and marked exhibit by the tribunal.