The Imo State governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday admitted in evidence copies of results from 366 polling units allegedly excluded from the final results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, which was tendered by Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of operations in Imo state during the elections.
The Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, had in his petition alleged that the said results were APC results excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the declaration of the final results of the election.
However, the Police, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Rabiu Huseini, who was in charge of operations during the 9th March,2019 governorship election, tendered in evidence to the Election Tribunal 366 results in Forms EC.8A out of the 388 polling unit results excluded from collation in the result declared by INEC in respect of the Imo State Governorship.
It would be recalled that the INEC had declared the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha winner of the election.
But dissatisfied with the results, Senator Uzodinma filed his petition before the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on the 30th of March, 2019.
Read also: Kano Election Tribunal: PDP Chairman fails to give evidence
One of the grounds of the petition was the unlawful exclusion of results from 388 polling units spread across the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State where APC won with high margins.
Uzodinma had argued in his petition that if the results of the 388 polling units allegedly unlawfully excluded had been collated he would have been declared the winner of the election. The APC candidate closed his case after over one hundred polling agents of the APC testified before the tribunal. However, the Deputy Commissioner of Police who was subpoenaed to tender Police counterpart copies of the results in Forms EC.8A in their custody.
But there was legal firepower between counsels to the APC and that of the INEC and PDP, as to whether the police should tender the results in their custody for over four hours.
The INEC lawyers objected to it while that of the APC led by Olusola Oke argued and relied on an earlier Court of Appeal judgment in Lasun VS Awoyemi and Omidiran VS Etteh, to argue that where a witness is summoned to court on subpoena, his evidence can be taken orally in the tribunal.
Consequently, the Tribunal delivered its ruling and directed the Police witness to testify and tender the available 366 police counterpart copies of polling unit results. The ruling of the tribunal elicited jubilation in the APC camp since the results tendered collaborated with the earlier results the APC candidate, Senator Uzodinma tendered before the Tribunal as the results of the APC omitted by the INEC.
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