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Tribunal upholds Etteh’s election

Posted by By Gabriel Dike, Osogbo on 2008/06/03 | Views: 907 |

Tribunal upholds Etteh’s election


The election petition tribunal sitting in Osogbo, Osun State on Saturday dismissed a petition seeking the nullification of the election of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh.

The election petition tribunal sitting in Osogbo, Osun State on Saturday dismissed a petition seeking the nullification of the election of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh.

In a unanimous judgement read by Justice A. T. Badamosi, the tribunal said the petitioner, Alhaja Ayo Omidiran, failed to prove her case with credible evidence.
The tribunal noted that Omidiran called witnesses who dubbed themselves "ward supervisors" and who testified to the fact that they did not stay permanently in any polling unit during the election.

The panel wondered why the AC candidate failed to call a single polling agent who witnessed the election in his unit and was lawfully entitled to stay at a polling station.
The tribunal further stated that all allegations raised in the petition against Etteh's election bordered on criminality, which the petitioner failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubts.

"The burden of proof is on the petitioner as he who asserts must prove. Where the commission of a crime is directly an issue, the standard of proof is that of proof beyond all reasonable doubts. But where the allegation is not criminal in nature, the standard of proof is on preponderance of evidence. The petitioner has failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on her by calling credible witnesses," the tribunal ruled.

It noted further that the Omidiran's evidence in most instances were at variance with the pleadings in her petition, declaring that this affected the documents she tendered and were commented on by her counsel.
"It is settled in law that parties are bound by their pleadings. Facts not pleaded go to no issue and evidence led on such facts is also of no moment as nothing can be placed on nothing. Counsels’ submissions no matter how brilliant cannot take the place of pleadings," the tribunal declared.

The tribunal also discountenanced documents tendered by the AC candidate through her lawyer, stating that she did not specifically tie them to her case through calling of witnesses to give evidence on them apart from the fact that her lawyers comments in his final address were not pleaded in the petition.
Another petition filed by the AC candidate in Ayedaade state constituency, Oyebade Abayo against the election of Olufemi Faronbi of the PDP was also dismissed by the tribunal, which held that he failed to proof his case.

In dismissing the case, the tribunal through Justice Joe Ekanem noted that the petitioner not only failed to call the right witnesses but that the witnesses gave evidence that was "against common cause of human conduct."
It noted that some of the witnesses claimed that ballot boxes were not taken to polling units and yet alleged that thugs invaded the polling units and snatched ballot boxes.
A cost of N20,000 was awarded against each of the petitioners in favour of the respondents.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.