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Ogun Tribunal: ‘Motorcyclist With Guns, Thugs Burnt Ballot Papers’ – Septugenarian Witness Recounts

Friday, 14 July 2023

Ladi Adebutu Dapo Abiodun

Adeniyi Ishau, a 77-year-old witness has told the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abeokuta, Ogun State, how political thugs stormed his polling unit during the State’s March 18 poll, destroying ballot boxes and setting them ablaze.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) witness from Sagamu Local Government Area’s ward 8, unit 7, was one of the 10 witnesses who testified on Thursday in support of the petition filed by candidate Ladi Adebutu against Governor Dapo Abiodun.

Information Nigeria reports that the petitioners’ lawyer, Gordy Uche, has called 45 witnesses out of a total of 120.

The septuagenarian testified that the election started well at his polling unit but was called off after three gunmen stormed the place, chased out voters, and set ballot papers and ballot boxes on fire.

He said, “Election at my polling unit started but was cancelled when voting was disrupted. To our surprise, three people came in motorcycle with guns and chased voters away. Ballot papers were burnt by those who came in. After running away we came back and saw the burnt ballot papers. No result was declared in polling unit due to the disruption.”

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Moreso, Remi Olatubora of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Taiwo Osipitan representing Governor Abiodun, and Olanrewaju Baruwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) cross-examined the 10 witnesses.

One Adenike, of polling Unit 0011, Sabo in Sagamu, was accused of voting at a different polling unit than the one listed on her Permanent Voter’s card.

“My current polling unit is different from the one on my voter’s card because INEC transferred us to another polling unit in 2023. INEC should explain why they switched to a different polling unit,” she responded.

Counsel to INEC, however expressed satisfaction with the tribunal’s process thus far in an interview with journalists.

The former Commissioner in Ondo State said: “They (petitioners) have called 40 witnesses now. We hope to take on more of these witnesses even though they are basically saying the same thing, identical statements but we will take them as they come.

“I’m satisfied as counsel to INEC. INEC is like a neutral party in this litigation but we are also primarily a defendant because the petitioners sued other respondents and INEC jointly and severally, so we have to defend the petition as a respondent.

“We are putting in our best in our cross-examination process as we should do, but then we thank God for a good and listening tribunal, they are very patient people and the proceeding has been very smooth and and very fine.”

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via: Information Nigeria

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