The candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) for March 28, 2015 election into Lagos West Senatorial District, Segun Adewale (Aeroland) has denied having any complain of missing document in his ongoing petition before the Election Petition Tribunal in Lagos.
Adewale is challenging the declaration of candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Solomon Olamilekan Adeola as winner of the said election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A lawyer representing the Concerned Stakeholders of Lagos West Senatorial District, Oladotun Hassan had petitioned the Chairman of the Tribunal, asking that issue of alleged missing documents be investigated.
In the petition, Hassan had alleged that the team of lawyers to the APC led by Dr. Muiz Banire conspired with both INEC lawyers and officials of the Tribunal to steal vital documents which were duly tendered as exhibits.
Based on the petition, Daily Independent had published a report stating the contents of the said petition, a development which led to the filing of a motion on notice for committal proceedings.
But Adewale, as captured in the record of proceeding of July 11, had denied having any complain of missing document, and that he did not authorize the said Hassan to write any petition on his behalf to complain about the missing document.
When the case came up again on Monday, Daily Independent’s lawyer, J.A Nsofor had argued a preliminary objection questioning the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to adjudicate on the committal proceedings, while APC’s lawyer, Kunle Adegoke adopted his response.
But midway into the hearing, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice S.C Oriji, had made efforts to set the record straight, saying that the issue had long been resolved between parties.
The judge stressed that he was disturbed to receive barrage of calls and text messages asking how documents duly tendered before the tribunal could be missing.
He, therefore, ordered that certified true copies of record of proceedings of July 7 and July 11, 2015 be made available to Daily Independent for another publication on what actually transpired.
In the record of proceedings of July 7, the Tribunal had stated that: “On 30/6/2015, the PW1 (1st petitioner) continued his evidence in chief and tendered several documents which were admitted in evidence by the Tribunal. On 1/7/2015, the petitioner’s counsel applied for certified true copy of documents tendered.
“In the course of counting and numbering the exhibits, the Assistant Registrar of the Tribunal (Mr. Sani Abubakar) and the Clerk of the Tribunal (Kehinde Fajobi) discovered that the number of documents as stated by the PW1 and recorded by the Tribunal was different from the actual number of the documents. Mr Sani and Mr Fajobi brought the disparity to the attention of the Tribunal. The tribunal therefore invited the counsel for the parties in order to reconcile the figures.
“By way of example, the PW1 stated that the certified true copy of the results given to him by INEC for polling units for Mushin LGA was 773 but after counting, it was discovered that the total number is 737. The PW1 said there were 602 duplicate results for Mushin LGA but after counting, it was discovered that there were 680 duplicates of the results.”
The Tribunal, according to the record of proceedings, then asked lawyers for their opinion on how to reconcile the disparity.
Adewale’s lawyer, Dr Yemi Oke had stated that the Tribunal could correct the record book to reflect the documents tendered as shown in the schedule of documents, adding: “I only need to observe that the result written on a sheet of paper and authenticated with INEC stamp as stated by PW1 is not part of the documents received by the Tribunal.
“It was presented by PW1 on 30/6/2015 but is not part of the documents in the custody of the Tribunal. I have the document here and I urge the Tribunal to include it as part of the duplicate copies of results for Alimosho LGA admitted as exhibit P47.”
Counsel for Adeola and APC, Lanre Baruwa did not object to Oke’s submission, after which the Tribunal held that it would correct the record of proceedings of June 30 to reflect the number of documents actually received by the Tribunal. The result written on piece of paper was received and included as part of exhibit P47 and numbered exhibit P47; 307.
From the Tribunal’s proceeding of August 11, 2015, all parties to the election petition agree that the issue of the missing document has since been resolved, as no document was in fact stolen.