The sitting of the Election Petition Tribunal that held on Tuesday, 11th June 2019 was another show of shame and cluelessness for the APC and their ill-advised candidate, Adejare Bello.
Bello is challenging the victory of Hon. Bamidele Salam and the PDP in the February 23 House of Representatives election for Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo Federal Constituency.
The Legal team of the former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly continued the presentation of their witnesses before the Tribunal and as it was with the previous sittings of the Tribunal, they displayed crass cluelessness.
As if God was sending a clear signal to Bello and his party, while they vainly labored at the Tribunal, Bamidele Salam was taking his oath of office as the validly elected Member of the House of Representatives.
One of their witnesses, a man from ward 11 unit 7 of Ede North – Oladejo Johnson clearly had his written deposition on oath reading Egbedore L.G. He attempted to change this but could not as it was too late.
Moving on from the first confused presentation, the legal team of Adejare Bello called the witness for Ward 4 unit 8 of Ejigbo L.G. This witness, Kamorudeen Alaba, claimed his unit was cancelled but could not refer to any evidence of cancellation as the petitioners couldn’t produce the mandatory Form EC40G that must be filled for cancelled units. He also could not state the number of registered voters in the unit, among other laughable incoherence in his written deposition and verbal testimony.
The same incoherence was repeated by the APC witness for ward 4 unit 6 of Ejigbo Local Government who also could not substantiate the claims of the petitioners with meaningful testimony.
In ward 2 unit 1 of Ejigbo, the witness claimed that the result was cancelled, yet the same result was collated in Form EC8B and EC8C of Ejigbo L.G. One can only imagine what cancellation means to the Adejare Bello team when the unit result was collated and no Form EC40G was tendered.
In ward 4 unit 2 (VP) of Egbedore Local Government, the petitioners claimed the voting point was cancelled but could not tender any evidence of cancellation. The witness was not even aware of any INEC form or any of such documentation, from EC8A to EC40G.
The first 5 witnesses were exhausted by 11.40am and in an attempt to save face and be more coherent, the petitioners sought for a recess till 2pm.
The tribunal reconvened at 2pm and the petitioners called a witness that was subpoenaed. According to them, the witness just signed an oath from the secretary of the tribunal and sought to serve the 1st to 3rd respondents.
As if to conjure a kind of magic unknown to law, they attempted to present a statement on oath for a subpoenaed witness. The chairman of the tribunal openly said “how do u know what the witness is coming to say in the court?” He said it is too late to bring any written deposition at that point.
The Legal team of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents all raised their objections and the petitioners quickly withdrew the witness and sought for an adjournment.
The matter was adjourned to the 19th day of June 2019.
At the end of the Tribunal sitting on Tuesday, a lot of questions must already be in the minds of people who witnessed the entire sequence of events. Most of them would wonder, did Adejare Bello and his team make any attempt to tell themselves the truth in their private quarters before coming out to ‘dance naked in the market square’ like they are doing?
From all indications and the goings at the Tribunal, all men who love Adejare Bello should whisper in his ears that this is the time for him to stop his ill-advised rigmarole at the Tribunal before it becomes full-blown shame.
It is time to rally round Hon. Bamidele Salam, give him the needed support and wish him well as he starts the journey towards creating an unprecedented record of service.
Bamidele Salam Media Office