The Anambra State Gubernatorial Elections Petitions Tribunal has so far admitted 10,000 certified documents as exhibits from Senator Chris Ngige and All Progressives Congress, APC, in the second of four petitions before it.
About 5,984 election related documents were admitted, yesterday, and marked as exhibits bringing the total materials so far admitted from the petitioners to 10,234.
The PDP legal team represented by Clement Ezira, prayed the tribunal to adopt and rely on the exhibits tendered by Senator Ngige and APC and the prayers were granted in absence of any objection.
Documentary exhibits admitted, yesterday, included voters’ registers and polling booth results for the eight local government areas of Anambra State outstanding as at yesterday.
They included those of Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ogbaru, Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Orumba North, Orumba South and Oyi.
Others included the summary of polling booth results at ward levels (Forms EC8B) across all 326 wards in the state, except Ward 10, Ogbaru; summary of local government results at the state level (Form EC8D); forms for declaration of results (Form EC8E) and 355 as well as those for Oath of Neutrality by INEC staff handling the elections.
Also tendered were, 813 ‘Forms EC 40A’ described as Ballot Paper Verification Statement, 116 certified copies of ‘Forms EC 40 B’, described as Statement of Invalid Ballot Papers; as well as 152 certified ‘Forms EC 40 C’, described as statement of unused ballot papers.
The tribunal also admitted in evidence, 443 exhibits made up of Forms ‘EC25 A’ described Receipt of Electoral materials and 26 copies of Forms EC25 B described as the ‘Receipt for Electoral Materials by presiding officers in the 21 LGAs’
Eight certified copies of newspaper reports on the election became a bone of contention between the lawyers on the respective sides of the consolidated matter before Chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello ruled in favour of admission.
However, polling booth results for the entire Otuocha Ward I, Anambra East Local Government Area, where Governor Willie Obiano, who is the defendant hails from, were said to be missing from the pack as petitioners said they were not supplied by INEC.
The lead counsel for Ngige and APC, Rotimi Akeredolu, also tendered for the admission of the 356-page document enlisting all INEC ad-hoc staff that worked during the November 16, 17, and 30, 2013 gubernatorial elections.
But Counsel for Obiano, Mr Ken Mozie, supported by Osita Nnadi, SAN for APGA objected to the admission of some of the exhibits saying that all the Counsel only agreed between themselves that materials to be admitted covered only documents obtained from INEC without objection.
Akeredolu relied on the report of the pre-trial session handed down by the Tribunal which stated according to him that ‘’all certified documents shall be tendered from the Bar, while all other documents shall go through the normal process of tendering.’’
The Tribunal ruled that ‘’the certified documents, as used in the agreement reached in the Bar and the report of the Tribunal was generic in application and therefore the documents should be admitted without prejudice to any objections that may be raised by parties on it in future,’’ hence newspaper reports were admitted and marked as Exhibits ‘P.349A-H.’
Hearing has been adjourned till Tuesday, March 25, and fixed the case of Dr Chike Obidigbo and APGA versus Obiano, INEC & others for hearing tomorrow.