The Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Monday
disallowed a subpoenaed witness called by the Independent National
Electoral Commission from testifying in a petition challenging the
victory of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

The News Agency of
Nigeria reports that the witness was Prof. Toyin Ogundipe who was the
Oyo State Returning Officer in the March 9 governorship election in the
state.

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The tribunal led by Justice Muhammed Sirajo said that
INEC’s statement of oath and list of witnesses submitted to the tribunal
did not include Ogundipe’ name.

Sirajo said that INEC also
failed to indicate whether an official or subpoenaed witness would be
called to testify in the matter.

“This witness cannot testify for INEC in this matter,” the tribunal ruled.

Earlier,
counsel to INEC, Mr Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN), had told the tribunal that
the subpoenaed witness was an official witness who was not under the
control of the commission.

He, however, said that Electoral Act
paragraphs 41 to 48 allow the tribunal to use its discretion on the
issue and allow the witness to testify.

Kehinde argued that the
witness had been the INEC returning officer who was critically involved
in the election and urged the tribunal to allow him to testify.

But
counsel to Adebayo Adelabu, the APC flagbearer, Mr Afolabi Fashanu
(SAN), said there should be a granted application before the tribunal
can allow a subpoenaed witness to appear before it.

Fashanu said
that the discretion to be exercised by the tribunal must be based on an
existing law and must be exercised judiciously.

He urged the tribunal to disallow the witness.

NAN reports that the tribunal had taken a break to resume later in the day as at the time of this report.

NAN
also reports that Adelabu and his party are challenging the declaration
of Makinde, the PDP candidate, as the governor of Oyo State by INEC
during the March 9 governorship election.

The other respondents in the matter are INEC and the PDP.

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