Clement Onwuenwunor, lead counsel to Abdulazeez Adediran, has accused Olaolu Adekanbi, an official of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), of compromising evidence in his testimony at the election petition tribunal.
Adediran, also known as Jandor, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last elections, is calling for the disqualification of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, over a fake WAEC result.
He is also challenging the victory of Sanwo-Olu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on the ground of “non-compliance” with the electoral act 2022 and the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On Tuesday, Adekanbi was subpoenaed by the court to give evidence on the controversy surrounding the qualification of Sanwo-Olu.
The witness had presented a document bearing a May/June O’level result with the name of the governor issued in 1981 by Ijebu Ife Community Grammar School.
Onwuenwunor accused Adekanbi of not being truthful in his evidence.
He told the tribunal that the evidence presented by the witness was different from an earlier finding after a search on WAEC’s online result verification portal which allegedly did not show the governor’s name and result.
He also applied for leave to cross-examine the witness to challenge the accuracy of the evidence.
“There is a major conflict between what the witness has just brought and what we earlier tendered which was also issued by WAEC,” he said.
“Our search before the polls had discovered that the governor had no result on WAEC’s portal and now this witness is bringing something different which contradicts their earlier position.
“He is not being a witness of truth. He has also refused to give more evidence on what he presented and said the council does not produce hard copies of certificates or retain duplicate certificates.”
In its ruling, the tribunal, headed by Arum Ashom, held that the petitioner could not cross-examine the witness and that the exhibit containing the findings from the portal could not be linked to WAEC directly.
However, the court ordered the counsel to cross-examine the WAEC official.
During the cross-examination, the witness told the tribunal that the governor was found to have been entitled to a certificate issued by the school in question and that the online portal did not exist as of 1981.
“Since there was no portal in 1981, this master list of 581 candidates that sat for the exam at the school is the primary information that will be fed into the result verification portal,” Adekanbi said.
“I think electronic registration of candidates started in 2004.
“For migrating results, we have three portals and the council does not retain duplicate copies of certificates.”
Adetunji Oyeyipo, INEC’s counsel, described the petitioner’s grouse as “a storm in a teacup”.
“This witness has made two contradictory statements. There is nothing to warrant treating him as a hostile witness,” he said.
“At the very best, he has only given evidence not palatable to my learned friend.”
He prayed the court to refuse the application of the petitioner.
Muiz- Banire, lawyer representing Sanwo-Olu, also agreed with INEC’s position.
“Exhibit P36 is a product of one Ijebu Ife Community Grammar School, not WAEC while exhibit b2 is a product of one Grandex Ventures Ltd., not WAEC,” Banire said.
“No one has led evidence to establish the authenticity of that portal, so the attachment to it is totally unreliable.
“No witness has even testified on the said Grandex, section 230 of the evidence act does not avail the petitioner the right to seek leave of court to declare the witness hostile.”
The matter was adjourned till July 4 for the continuation of the hearing.
Source: The Cable
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