By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
At the resumed hearing on the petition before the National Assembly election petition tribunal in Minna, Niger State between the petitioner, the
Senatorial candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Ibrahim Isiyaku, SAN and three respondents, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the APC itself as first, second and third respondents, the tribunal admitted four compact disks plates in evidence as tendered by Counsel to the petitioner.
The tribunal led by Justice Atunike Fadeke Oluyemi discountenanced the arguments of the Counsels to the respondents not to admit the compact disks as prayed by the petitioner.
The Counsels had argued that what was admitted in evidence before the tribunal was “tapes” but not compact disks” and they posited that in law what was not pleaded for could not be so admitted as evidence in any hearing before a court of law or tribunal as the case may be.
In their separate argument, the Counsels said the tribunal should throw out the compact disks since the petitioner did not cite compact disks in his submission as evidence before the tribunal.
But Justice Fadeke Oluyemi granted the petitioner the right to tender the evidence saying the fact of the case before the tribunal was not about rhetorics or semantics.
Justice Atunike Fadeke Oluyemi said the tribunal based it’s stance on facts not evidence since the compact disks contains broadcast materials of the two candidates of the All Progressives Congress who were recorded at a private radio station as electioneering campaign products before, during and even after the said National Assembly election.
While rejecting the prayers of the Counsels to the respondents, ( the candidate, APC and INEC) on the non admissibility of the evidence brought forward by the principal witness 1 of the petitioner, the tribunal Chairman ruled in favour of the petitioner to sustain his hold on the evidence as tendered and continue with his presentation.
The tribunal Chairman pleaded with the Counsels in the matter to ensure all their witnesses were ready as the tribunal hopes to deliver it’s judgment on the matter on 27th of this month.
The tribunal had in it’s earlier sitting fixed continuation of the hearing on the matter for 18th, 19th and 20th of this month, (June).
The two Counsels to the first and second respondents told the tribunal that they have one witness each to bring in the course of the hearing on the matter while the petitioner has two more witnesses to appear for him before the tribunal.
The petitioner in the matter and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Barrister Ibrahim Isiyaku, a senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN had filled a petition before the tribunal seeking for justice.
His prayers is predicated on the fact that he contested the senatorial seat for the Niger zone B district with two candidates of the APC instead of one candidate.
The tribunal is to determine the case in whether two candidates of the APC went into the race.
The hearing continues on Wednesday and Thursday this week.