Ikeja June 27, 2023 (NAN) Mr Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN), the lead counsel for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr Abdulazeez Adediran, has accused the West African Examination Council (WAEC) official of compromising evidence in his testimony.
The official was subpoenaed by the court to give evidence on the controversy surrounding the qualification of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Onwuenwunor accused Mr Olaolu Adekanmbi, the WAEC official, who was subpoenaed by the tribunal at his instance, of not being truthful in his evidence.
The petitioner’s counsel told the tribunal that the evidence of the witness was adverse to its earlier findings after a search on WAEC’s online result verification portal which had allegedIy indicated the absence of the governor’s names and result on it.
Jandor’s counsel also applied to the tribunal for leave to cross examine the witness in order to challenge the accuracy of the WAEC official’s evidence.
“There is a major conflict between what the witness has just brought and what we earlier tendered which was also issued by WAEC.
“Our search before the polls had discovered that the governor had no result on WAEC’s portal and now this witness is bringing something different which contradicts their earlier position.
“He is not being a witness of truth.
“He has also refused to give more evidence on what he presented, and said the council does not produce hard copy of certificates or retain duplicate certificates,” he said.
Ealier, the witness had presented a document bearing a May/June O’level result with the name of the governor issued in 1981 by Ijebu Ife Community Grammar School.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three member tribunal headed by Justice Arum Ashom admitted the document among the list of exhibits before it, into evidence.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) counsel, Mr Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN), described the petitioner’s grouse as a storm in a teacup.
He said: “This witness has made two contradictory statements.
“There is nothing to warrant treating him as a hostile witness.
“At the very best, he has only given evidence not palatable to my learned friend.
“We urge you to refuse the application of the petitioner,”
Dr Muiz- Banire (SAN) representing Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, who were the second and third respondents in the petition, also aligned himself with INEC’s position.
“Exhibit P36 is a product of one Ijebu Ife community Grammar School, not WAEC while exhibit b2 is a product of one Grandex Ventures Ltd., not WAEC.
“No one has led evidence to establish the authenticity of that portal so the attachment to it is totally unreliable.
“No witness has even testified on the said Grandex, section 230 of the Evidence Act does not avail the petitioner the right to seek leave of court to declare the witness hostile,” Banire said.
However, Labour party and its candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, urged the Tribunal to grant the petitioner’s request.
They argued that the witness was being hostile to the truth and exhibited animosity.
The Tribunal, in its ruling, held that the petitioner could not cross-examine the witness and that the exhibit containing the findings from the portal could not be linked to WAEC directly.
The tribunal, thereafter, ordered other counsel to cross examine the WAEC official.
The witness told the tribunal during cross examination that the governor was found to have been entitled to a certificate issued by the school in question and that the online portal did not exist as at 1981.
He said: “Since there was no portal in 1981, this master list of 581 candidates that sat for the exam at the school is the primary information that will be fed into the result verification portal.
“I think electronic registration of candidates started in 2004.
“For migrating results, we have three portals and the council does not retain duplicate copies of certificates.”
The tribunal adjourned until July 4 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)