The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, had a bad outing yesterday at the sitting of the tribunal hearing the petition they filed against the outcome of the election.

Most of the nine witnesses they called could not communicate effectively in English language, could not read the statements they claimed they wrote and could not answer questions logically.

Some of the witnesses also claimed to have multiple signatures, samples of which the tribunal later admitted in evidence.

The tribunal chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, had to intervene intermittently, to explain questions to the witnesses in pidgin English before they could respond.

The witnesses, who claimed to have acted as PDP agents during the election, were led in evidence by petitioners’ lawyer, Nathaniel Oke (SAN).

They were cross-examined by respondents’ lawyers, including Lasco Pwahomdi, for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Aboidun Owonikoko (SAN), for Adegboyega Oyetola and Lasun Sanusi (SAN), for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ariyo Oladiti, who testified as the petitioners’ fourth witness – the first yesterday – said he was PDP’s agent at Polling Unit 10, Ward 7, Atakunmosa West Local Government Area.

During cross-examination by Pwahomdi, he was asked to explain irregularities in his signatures in his written deposition and the result sheet.

Oladiti said he had multiple signatures, admitting that the signatures in both documents were not similar.

The witness was later asked to sign a specimen of his different signatures on plane sheets, which the tribunal admitted in evidence.

The second witness, Ado Garba (PW5), also claimed to have multiple signatures, samples of which were admitted by the tribunal.

While being led in evidence by Oke, another witness Mumuni Salaudeen said he acted as PDP’s agent in Unit 11, Ward 11 in Osogbo Local Government Area.

He claimed to have signed a written deposition on October 16 at the tribunal’s registry in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

But when Oke asked him if he wanted the written deposition to be admitted as his evidence before the tribunal, the witness said no.

Oke repeated the question about two more times, but the witness insisted on his earlier response.

Realising that the witness did not understand the question or grasp its import, the tribunal chairman, following a request by Oke, admitted the written deposition.

When asked to read part of his written deposition, the witness took the document and kept staring at it.

When Justice Sirajo asked him what the problem was, Salaudeen said he could not read and write in English.

Wakili Animashahun, who was the last witness for the day (PW12), exhibited similar attributes.

He claimed to have multiple signatures and could not answer questions logically.

When asked if the results in his polling unit were announced by the Presiding Officer before it was recorded in the results sheet, the witness said no.

His response contradicted his claim in his written deposition, which he earlier admitted to have signed, and which the tribunal admitted.

When Oke attempted to correct his witness’ error, tribunal chairman overruled him, saying: “It was a witness’ inalienable right to contradict himself.”

Further hearing resumes today.
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