Witness alleges inducement of voters during July 14 Ekiti guber election
A petitioners’ witness on Saturday told the Ekiti Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that voters were induced with money in Unit 008, Ward 4 of Ekiti East Local Government Area, during the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti.
The witness, Ajayi Olanipekun, stated this while testifying before the tribunal sitting at the FCT High Court, Apo.
The petitioners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate in the Ekiti July 14 governorship election, Prof. Olusola Kolapo had approached the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.
The respondents in the suit are the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gov. Kayode Fayemi and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Answering a question during cross examination by Dr Kayode Olatoke (SAN), counsel to Gov. Fayemi, Olanipekun stated that there was money inducement during the election.
He stated that he would be surprised to hear that the petitioners did not complain about that in their petition before the tribunal.
According to the witness, “I will be surprised if the petitioners did not complain of money inducement in Unit 8 (Ward 4, Ekiti East LGA) because there was inducement.”
He further claimed that there was over voting in the unit, saying that, “there was over voting and that is not the only complaint.”
When crossed examined by counsel to INEC, Chris Onwugbonu, he stated that he voted at the polling unit on the election day, adding that there was no one with him in the polling booth while casting his vote.
According to him, all voters who voted at the polling unit that day used the same procedure in voting and said that he was present during the sorting and counting of ballot papers.
He informed the tribunal that the duplicate copy of the Form EC8A which he tendered and was admitted as exhibit, was given to him at the polling unit, adding that the original copy was with INEC.
Meanwhile, the petitioners called six witnesses on Saturday, bringing the total number of witnesses called so far to 50.
The witnesses informed the tribunal in their written statements on oath, which they adopted as their testimony before the tribunal, of over voting in their respective polling units where they served as PDP agents.
When asked by Olatoke what he meant by over voting, one of the witnesses Adeyanju Adegbola from Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti East LGA, stated that it was when the number of vote was more than the number of used ballots.
“Over voting is when, for instance, they used 10 ballot papers and counted 12,” the witness, who was the 49th witness (PW49) for the petitioners, told the tribunal.
A witness, Kazeem Olusola Ayeye (PW45), from Itapaji, Ado Ekiti LGA, informed that he was at his Unit 2 polling unit of Ward 5 throughout the election and informed that PDP polled 40 votes, while APC scored 82.
He stated that the total number of votes cast was 122 as contained on Exhibit P13 E(5), adding that this was contrary to the 126 contained in paragraph 7 of his written witness statement on oath.
The tribunal chaired by Justice Suleiman Belgore, will continue the hearing of the petition on Monday, Oct. 29