Alexander Okere, Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said that he would call his witnesses in support of his case at the governorship election petitions tribunal sitting Benin, the state capital.
Obaseki disclosed this, through his lead counsel, Ken Mozia, at the resumption of hearing on Monday.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, had filed a petition urging the tribunal to declare him as the rightful winner of the September 28 governorship election.
Ize-Iyamu had listed the Independent National Electoral Commission, the governor and the All Progressives Congress as the first, second and third respondents, respectively.
He had also called a total of 91 witnesses to testify before the tribunal, through his lead counsel, Mallam Yusuf Ali.
Shortly after closing the case of the first respondent at the resumption of hearing on Monday, the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, had called on Obaseki to open his case.
But the governor, through his counsel, explained that he did not have the privilege to know that INEC would close its case before the statutory time allotted to it and had not planned to call witnesses.
He, therefore, urged the tribunal to grant him till Thursday to call his witnesses, adding that he was in the process of filing for a subpoena.
Mozia said, ”My lords, I respectively, apply. Give me two day – tomorrow and Wednesday – to bring up my witnesses. Then, I can kick-start lining them on Thursday.”
His application was supported by counsel to the APC, Adeniyi Akintola.
But counsel to the respondents, Roland Otaru, pointed out that INEC, through its lead counsel, had told the tribunal that it would not exhaust the 10 days allotted to it, adding the second respondent should be granted till Wednesday to call his witnesses.
However, Justice Badamasi granted the application of the second respondent and adjourned sitting till Thursday.